The Khronos Group, alongside the myriad of other tech companies, have been working on a royalty-free, open standard for the virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) industry called OpenXR for a number of years now. This week SteamVR has rolled out a new update to fully support the OpenXR 1.0 API standard.
While PC VR users won’t notice any change, developers most certainly will. The whole purpose of OpenXR is to remove fragmentation across the XR industry. So rather than a developer having to create a project for one specific platform and then port to more further down the line – not always an easy process – with OpenXR its a one and done approach.
Thus it’s great for creators and end-users. Studios don’t have to decide on one VR headset to support initially, they save time and money bringing their project to multiple devices, and in turn earn more from a greater customer reach. Of course, on the other end, PC VR owners don’t need to worry if the headset they own will be supported, plus true cross-platform XR experiences can be created.
OpenXR’s 1.0 specification was established in 2019 with companies including Valve, Microsoft and Oculus deploying developer preview programmes in 2020. With the standard now firmly in place thanks to the SteamVR update, there should be no issue with titles supporting all PC VR headsets.
The main portion of SteamVR’s v1.16 update was for OpenXR but it includes some smaller extras. Most notable is the option to: “Allow motion smoothing to apply up to six frames of extrapolation (was three). Note: This also only applies to SteamVR’s compositor.” This will allow users to run applications at a lower framerate.
The news continues to help the XR industry create a more open ecosystem, removing barriers that could hinder adoption. As further updates for SteamVR are announced, VRFocus will keep you updated.