A new Steam Beta client has been released by Valve and it brings quite a few new features, especially for the Linux platform, which received support for virtual reality technology.
The Steam developers usually release quite a few intermediary Steam versions between major stable updates. This is one of the most interesting Beta updates so far in this cycle and the VR support that was just introduced will certainly make it into the next version.
It looks like virtual reality is the next-gen feature that will be pursued by all the major gaming companies. Oculus is already having an impact on the industry, Sony is working on its own version, and Valve will most likely present its own solution soon enough. With all these advancements made with VR, it's good to see that Linux is on the forefront.
According to the changelog, the “Recently Played” list generation has been fixed, the old “Media” filter has been removed from the library filter menu, and the “Tools” entry has been added to the “Installed and Recently Played” library lists.
Also, a workaround has been implemented for an NVIDIA driver crash that occurred when streaming games from laptops with NVIDIA GPUs, a regression that was causing crazy colors when streaming some games has been corrected, and the streaming function now uses UDP ports 27031 and 27036 and TCP ports 27036 and 27037.
The main feature that stands out in this release is the support for VR mode implemented for Linux and Mac OS X.
Keep in mind that this is a Beta version and bugs are bound to show up. In order to get it, you have to enroll in the Beta program, from Preferences, and to restart the application.
If you already are in the Beta program, you won't have to do anything special. After you start the application, you will be prompted to update it.
Getting a development version of Steam for Linux might cause problems. Users have reported losing the installed games and reinstalling the stable release didn't fix the issue. This might not be the only problem you encounter, but if you want to test some of the new features you will have to opt for the Beta or wait for the next major stable release.
If you don’t have the client installed, you can download the Steam for Linux installer from Softpedia. This is not the actual application, but a small tool provided by Valve.