Valve just took a big step in prepping Steam game developers for the full arrival of OpenXR, the new industry-wide open standard for AR and VR headsets. Developers can now download a beta version that will let them start integrating OpenXR apps into SteamVR.
The company has released what it calls “initial support” for the 1.0.9 version of OpenXR. To the VR team at Valve ‘initial support’ means that SteamVR is currently passing “95% of conformance tests,” so the company concludes that it’s come time to “start testing things.”
Valve says in the official announcement that although OpenXR for Steam is not yet enabled for broad general use, interested devs can opt-in from now until September 1st.
OpenXR is all about reducing—if not entirely eliminating—fractures within the market by letting developers build AR/VR content for a much wider gamut of headsets. Because you don’t need to change underlying code to support any given headset, OpenXR is supposed to make it easier for developers to ply their wares on all platforms equally.
It’s no doubt been a massive undertaking creating a platform agnostic standard for VR and AR, as The Khronos Group consortium has included in its ranks the important hardware and software creators in the industry, including AMD, ARM, Epic Games, Facebook, Google, HTC, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Unity, and Valve.
Additionally, Facebook said in March that it would also be releasing a prototype version of OpenXR for Quest and Rift developers. With today’s news we’re hoping Oculus Store game developers will be getting that prototype sooner rather than later.