OpenXR is a widely supported open standard which aims to make cross-platform VR development easier by allowing developers to build around a single API rather than porting their apps to many different APIs. Today the company announced that developers can submit OpenXR applications to be published on the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift stores.

OpenXR is a royalty-free standard that aims to standardize the development of VR and AR applications, making for a more interoperable ecosystem. The standard has been in development since April 2017 and is supported by virtually every major hardware, platform, and engine company in the VR industry, including key AR players.

Oculus today announced that developers can submit OpenXR apps for sale on the Quest and Rift storefronts which, will run on those headsets as of the v19 version of the Oculus software.

This is a major step for cross-platform VR development because it means that developers building VR applications now have the option to build against the OpenXR standard which will allow the same app to work on other OpenXR supported platforms. Previously, developers have had to build separate versions of their apps for each platform’s API (ie: two different versions for Oculus and SteamVR), which complicates cross-platform development.

OpenXR creates a unified structure between VR engines, apps, and headsets | Image courtesy Khronos Group

Note that OpenXR app support on Oculus stores does not mean that Oculus’ stores will support headsets other than their own. It only means that developers can submit the same app to other OpenXR platforms without needing to specially port the app to those platforms.

Valve is also moving ahead with its OpenXR implementation; the company announced a preview of OpenXR support in SteamVR last month. Once complete, three of the four largest VR distribution platforms (Oculus Quest, Oculus PC, and SteamVR) will fully support OpenXR applications, allowing developers to build a single application which can work across all platforms.

The fourth major VR distribution platform is PlayStation VR. While Sony is a member of the industry group which is building OpenXR, the company has been quiet about OpenXR support on PSVR.

Microsoft has also released initial OpenXR support for both its VR headsets and HoloLens 2.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Ad

    This is great. It was absolutely absurd how Facebook forced Devs to strip out cross platform functionality, although it is still annoying that you cannot run non first party software from their store on other headsets. Hopefully this leads to a lot less software being stuck on Oculus.

    • kontis

      Apparently Palmer worked on support for 3rd party headsets before they fired him…

      • Ad

        That’s hilarious. I think he’s a terrible person but he had a clearer idea of VR it seems than Zuckerberg.

  • dk

    someone needs to cut out gear vr and daydream out of that image

    • mfx

      Ahah true

    • guest

      … or just sell cheap 6DOF addons to those larger installed bases???

      • dk

        well I mean the gear vr and daydream platforms r officially dead (it was in the news) so that jpeg needs to be updated …..and everyone will be doing 6dof all in one headsets going forward ………..or maybe headsets wired to phones or pc or anything else like nreal and some other ones

      • Daydream died a while back…it was a cool little platform with interesting exclusives and experimental apps; early webVR access through chrome and Firefox, YouTube VR and Google photos integration. Solid performance using pixel XL.

        But these things have their time to shine, sometimes too briefly…RIP Daydream ☠️

  • sebrk

    So what does this mean for SteamVR HMDs? Revive is really great but it takes too much resources imo. Would be awesome to just be able to start an Oculus app and keep performance.

    • kontis

      The guy making Revive also works on this. He initially had Patreon to found his access to the consortium and Palmer Luckey paid for it all, but then Khronos gave him access for free.

      • sebrk

        Right. I noticed an OpenXR setting in Revive menu but that is something else?

  • kontis

    Apparently OpenXR doesn’t support overlays which is quite a deal breaker for many SteamVR users.

    After all those years it lacks basic features like that…

    • sebrk

      Not sure OpenXR has to support it specifically for it to work?

      • DEEK

        Right. I think the overlays would still work if using the ones native to the platform itself like the oculus dash or steamVR overlay

        • openxr

          While overlays are more of a platform feature than an application feature, the OpenXR working group agrees overlay support is important. It just didn’t make the crunch to get 1.0 complete. We have champions of the feature pushing it forward in the form of an experimental extension, EXTX_overlay, while we work out exactly how to support it across wildly different platforms, their security and access control requirements, input handling, etc.

          LunarG has a deck on how to use the current extension:

          We’d welcome external input to help refine the extension and accelerate its standardization and adoption.

          OpenXR WG

          • DeenVR

            Nobody cares how the sausage is made, just get it done.

          • benz145

            I care, and I’m sure many others do too. Thanks for sharing the extra into @openxr:disqus.

  • Happy to hear that! I’ve been working on an OpenXR experience in Unity for my college department and it would be awesome to just throw it up onto the Oculus Store for anyone to download and try out!

  • DeenVR

    “Mister Zuckerberg, TEAR DOWN THAT WALLED GARDEN!”

    • Heh, at least Zucc was successful putting the wall up in the first place >w0

      • silvaring

        By stealing bricks and concrete from his neighbors :/

        • fair play

          but only in the wall xD

          • silvaring

            The Zuck testified via live stream yesterday in front of US congress, along with the other tech-barons.

  • Alrighty, so here’s the rundown:

    OpenXR supported by all Oculus Devices
    OpenXR standard implimented in RenderDragon by Mojang
    Oculus accepts OpenXR apps on their Store
    Brand new Oculus headset with completely plastic shell

    My speculation: six months to a year from now we’ll see (Carmack willing) a version of the new Quest headset with a Creeper/Enderman color scheme bundled with Minecraft for Quest.


  • Great to know. As a developer, I can’t wait to build only once and deploy everywhere

  • ImperialDynamics

    Awesome!!! <3