To help grow and support the growing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industries, The Khronos Group and its affiliates have been working on the OpenXR standard since 2016. Today, the consortium has announced the launch of the 1.0 OpenXR specification.
The public release of the OpenXR specification creates a unifying, royalty-free, open standard for cross-platform access between XR platforms and devices. This makes it far easier for software developers or hardware manufacturers who support the ecosystem to build products that work across devices, allowing for less fragmentation and therefore less confusion for consumers looking to invest in XR technology.
“The working group is excited to launch the 1.0 version of the OpenXR specification, and the feedback from the community on the provisional specification released in March has been invaluable to getting us to this significant milestone,” said Brent Insko, OpenXR working group chair and lead XR architect at Intel in a statement. “Our work continues as we now finalize a comprehensive test suite, integrate key game engine support, and plan the next set of features to evolve a truly vibrant, cross-platform standard for XR platforms and devices. Now is the time for software developers to start putting OpenXR to work.”
Khronos launched the provisional OpenXR 0.90 spec during the Game Developer Conference (GDC) 2019, gathering feedback from the XR community to improve the OpenXR input subsystem, game engine editor support, and loader. Version 1.0 will continue to evolve the standard while maintaining full backwards compatibility, with Khronos member companies continuing ecosystem support via additional implementations. These include ‘Monado’ OpenXR from Collabora, the OpenXR runtime for Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Microsoft, an Oculus Rift implementation, Unreal Engine support from Epic Games and Oculus Quest support.
“OpenXR is an important milestone for VR. This API will allow games and other applications to work easily across a variety of hardware platforms without proprietary SDKs,” said Joe Ludwig, programmer at Valve. “Valve is happy to have worked closely with other VR industry leaders to create this open standard, and looks forward to supporting it in SteamVR.”
“We’re thrilled to support the OpenXR 1.0 release, along with all of the Khronos Group members who have worked tirelessly to create the standard. Unreal Engine led the way with support for the OpenXR 0.9 provisional specification, and we’re excited to move the 1.0 revision forward in collaboration with our hardware partners releasing at the same time. Epic believes that open standards are essential to driving technology and bridging the gaps between digital ecosystems,” adds Jules Blok, Epic Games.
OpenXR members Epic Games, Microsoft and Varjo will be holding demonstrations using the OpenXR API at SIGGRAPH 2019 this week. The new specification can be found on the Khronos website and via GitHub. For further updates keep reading VRFocus.