Initiatives like OpenVR have allowed platforms like Steam to be hardware agnostic, allowing almost any virtual reality (VR) headset which supports the protocol to be used. The industry is striving for ever greater openness and interconnectivity, hence why The Khronos Group and its affiliates began working on OpenXR. Soon Oculus will begin to adopt OpenXR with support reportedly coming in the latest Oculus Public Test Channel release.
Appearing on the Oculus Forums, the preview release is available for testing now, just don’t expect to be running an HTC Vive or Valve Index on Oculus Home anytime soon. The whole purpose of OpenXR is to provide an open standard for cross-platform VR/AR apps, allowing them to be used on any compatible headset, without developers having to make lengthy and costly changes.
The current OpenXR 1.0 specification which launched in July helps to solve the fragmentation of the industry with companies like Epic Games, HTC, Google, HP, Unity, Valve, Sony, Samsung, Oculus and Microsoft all supporting the endeavour. At present only Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality headsets support OpenXR. The addition for Oculus Runtime has been expected, a Khronos press release previously mentioned: “Oculus OpenXR implementation for Rift, as well as Oculus Quest support coming upon ratification of OpenXR 1.0.”
However, there are big plans for OpenXR which could make platforms like Oculus Home hardware-agnostic just like Viveport. The Khronos Group does mention: “Optional device plugin interface will be supported post V1.0,” which could make that possibility a reality, albeit very unlikely as Facebook likes to keep a tight rein on its software.
With this appearing, only a couple of weeks before Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) further details regarding Oculus OpenXR integration plans may come during the keynote, most likely from CTO John Carmack or possibly Chief Science Officer Michael Abrash. VRFocus will be in attendance to find out further details.
In the meantime, you’ll have to use software such as Revive to play Oculus exclusives on HTC Vive via Steam with plenty of compatible titles currently available. As the implementation of OpenXR continues to expand VRFocus will bring you all the latest updates and announcements.