Oculus Now Supports the OpenXR Industry Standard
Oculus has now followed Microsoft and Valve to implement support for the OpenXR industry standard in its VR platform for v19.
OpenXR enables developers to build applications for one interface in the future. This means that developers will no longer need to adapt their XR apps to suit different Virtual Reality headsets and platforms. Following the support, developers will now be able to submit their OpenXR apps to the Oculus Store. For mobile, developers can use the OpenXR loader which shipped alongside the v19 or higher. Click here to find the latest PC SDK version. You can find the latest OpenXR SDK version here.
For developers, this helps save the development costs and ensure that XR apps are widely available. This will also eventually benefit platform operators along with end users a can be seen from this graphics.
On the Oculus developer blog, Oculus announced that the version 19 of the Quest and Rift operating software is now officially supported in OpenXR 1.0. Last week, Oculus rolled out the Update 19.0.
The OpenXR standard was finalized in the summer of last year by the Chronos working group. Oculus began implementing the standard in September of the same year. Oculus began rolling out the OpenXR prototype for the Quest and Rift platforms in the spring of 2020.
Following the official OpenXR support, the Oculus Rift Store could theoretically be opened to other non-Oculus VR headsets for the first time.
Opening the store could present both advantages and disadvantages for Facebook. On the one hand, virtual reality users with non-Oculus VR headsets would be able to more frequently shop at the Oculus Store and run apps on their platform. On the other hand, opening up the store loses Facebook some of the competitive advantage that it gained from keeping the store exclusive. This would see Facebook lose full control over some of its hardware and software. Opening up the Oculus Store is also a measure that cannot be undone.
Could Sony Be Next?
Microsoft has been supporting the OpenXR standard from last summer while Valve is currently testing the open standard with developers with the test phase running until 1st September. Developers will need to customize their VR apps for OpenXR. Many of the existing virtual reality apps are still compatible with the old SteamVR standard, OpenVR. In the long run, these changes towards a more open standard will be more beneficial for developers as the new SteamVR functions will only be developed for the OpenXR standard.
Following the official OpenXR standard rollout for both Valve and Oculus, the two biggest PC VR platforms have now implemented the new industry standard. Only Sony has been missing from the equation and is yet to commence its OpenXR plans even though Sony Interactive Entertainment is part of the OpenXR working group, Khronos. Without the next-gen PlayStation VR 2, there wouldn’t be any urgency on Sony’s part to implement the new standard either as Sony’s current VR headsets are at the end of their product cycle.
What is OpenXR?
OpenXR is a royalty-free and open standard created by the Khronos Group to facilitate the development of high-performance virtual reality applications which can run on multiple platforms. The OpenXR open standard aims to simplify virtual reality development by creating a unifying standard that will enable developers to build for multiple virtual reality platforms instead of single VR platform. This will enable developers to reach more platforms and reuse the same code. You can check out the OpenXR 1.0 Specification page on the Khronos Group website to learn more about OpenXR. Khronos also offers the API reference documentation as well as a PDF reference guide that give an overview of the API.