As of its latest beta release, Valve’s SteamVR software can add floating desktop windows inside VR games, letting you keep an eye on other apps without leaving VR. This valuable addition allows players to monitor everything from Discord to Twitch chats or Netflix while playing lower-intensity games. Road to VR even suggests that you can watch YouTube while on longer flights in Elite Dangerous.
Although the ability to interact with your desktop via SteamVR’s dashboard isn’t a new feature in the system, Valve recently made it more flexible. Earlier this year, it added the option to view individual application windows in the dashboard and be virtually attached to VR controllers ingame. Apps can now be viewed at a glance. However, it has not been able to float windows indefinitely ingame.
WINDOWS ARE VIEWABLE AFTER THE STEAMVR MENU LOSES
You can still attach a window to your controller or take it off to let it float in virtual space. While the windows can be seen only while playing a game, you can still open the SteamVR menu and interact with them using a VR controller or mouse pointer.
Version 1.19.6 of SteamVR now includes floating windows. The beta version of SteamVR is currently in use. However, it’s easy to opt-in via SteamVR’s property window (accessible by right-clicking it in your Steam Games list). Despite all the new features being added to the VR platform, there’s still no sign of version 2.0 of SteamVR that Valve teased early last year.