.Ever since the Khronos Group announced back in 2016 plans to have an open standard for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices called OpenXR, the initiative has garnered more and more support. With the first public demos showcased at SIGGRAPH last year, for the start of the Game Developer Conference (GDC) 2019 the group has publicly launched the OpenXR 0.90 provisional specification.
The whole purpose of OpenXR is to solve the issue of fragmentation within the VR/AR ecosystems – commonly referred to as XR – allowing developers to easily port content to a range of devices without having to spend serious amounts of time dealing with each their particular software issues.
As this is version 0.90 of OpenXR it’s not the final version, merely a provisional release so that Khronos Group can correlate feedback from users. OpenXR 0.90 specifies a cross-platform Application Programming Interface (API) so that platform vendor’s expose the functionality of their runtime systems, which can frustratingly different across existing vendor-specific APIs.
“OpenXR seeks to simplify AR/VR software development, enabling applications to reach a wider array of hardware platforms without having to port or re-write their code and subsequently allowing platform vendors supporting OpenXR access to more applications,” said Brent Insko, lead VR architect at Intel and OpenXR working group chair. “The OpenXR provisional specification—together with the runtimes publicly available at launch and coming in the next few weeks—will enable hands-on, cross-platform testing by application and engine developers. The working group welcomes developer feedback to ensure an OpenXR 1.0 specification that truly meets the needs of the XR industry.”
Advocates of the OpenXR standard range across the industry, from Google and Epic Games to Magic Leap and Sony Interactive Entertainment.
“Epic believes that open standards like OpenXR are essential foundations for a vibrant, multi-platform VR and AR industry in the coming years. We’ve supported OpenXR since its inception, including powering the first public demo of OpenXR at SIGGRAPH last year, and hope to see the ecosystem continue to grow with the first public release of the spec at GDC,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. “Epic plans to continue supporting OpenXR in Unreal Engine 4.”
“Facebook and Oculus continue to believe in the value the OpenXR standard delivers to users and developers. We plan to provide runtime support for apps built on OpenXR 1.0 on the Rift and Quest platforms later this year,” Nate Mitchell, Oculus Co-founder and head of VR product, Facebook adds.