The latest update to SteamVR, version 1.16, now includes full support for OpenXR 1.0, the widely backed industry 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 for different headsets. SteamVR’s support for OpenXR 1.0 is a huge step forward for the adoption of the standard.

SteamVR is the leading platform for PC VR thanks to its wide ranging support for every major PC-compatible headset. This makes it one of the most important platforms to adopt OpenXR, which will make it easier for developers to create applications which work seamlessly across a growing number of VR headsets.

Valve says that version 1.16 of SteamVR, available today to all users, “now passes all OpenXR 1.0 conformance tests on Windows for Vulkan, OpenGL, D3D11, and D3D12.”

This means that Valve is now giving VR developers the greenlight to build and distribute OpenXR apps which will seamlessly support major headsets with less work from developers. Such apps will also be compatible with other OpenXR platforms even outside of SteamVR (for instance, a developer could theoretically distribute the same OpenXR application on Steam and Oculus PC without making any changes to the code).

Image courtesy Khronos Group

SteamVR version 1.16 also brings a handful of fother improvements, including more options for VR app rendering performance (like throttling, prediction, and motion smoothing). You can check out the full patch notes here.

OpenXR has been in the works for several years, and has garnered backing by many key players in the XR space. The 1.0 version of the standard was announced in 2019 and has been slowly but steadily finding its way into key VR platforms and game engines like Oculus Quest & Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, Unity, Unreal Engine, SteamVR, and more.

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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."
  • Brandon “Jamar” Scott


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    Just in time for Facebook to start moving games to ARM so most devs won’t port to PC.

    I like the new per app settings for motion smoothing. I’d really like to have the converse, where you can set a refresh rate per app as well. That’s pretty much a must have as some games like beat saber and pistol whip can be 144, but games like H3 and Boneworks work better at 90, and a few games work best at 80.

    • kontis

      ARM / x86 doesn’t really matter for most devs using Unreal or Unity.
      90+% problems in porting and supporting are about game design, performance and monetary incentives.

      There is Crysis on Nintendo Switch. The architectures don’t matter. It’s all about eco$y$tem$…

      Oculus Quest could be literally running on x86 Windows and it would barely have any noticeable influence on the PC VR market situation and software exclusivity or availability.

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        Switch is massive. What about how badly games ported from quest seem to be optimized?

  • xyzs

    Great news !
    Time for standardized VR games :)

  • oomph

    Wow Great
    THE most significant upgrade
    And the industry changes forever

    • kontis

      This is nowhere as big of a deal for gamers as you think it is.
      This is big for the guys at Epic and Unity so they have less of a mess to deal with. Some game developers too. For gamers this will be mostly irrelevant and won’t change much.

      • This will be awesome for indie devs once Unity gets they’re plugins updated, however. Being able to easily port a game to either SteamVR, Quest, or OculusPC will be really nice.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        If it’s a big deal for Epic and Unity, it’s also a big deal for gamers. I hope developers are just gonna leave Apple to the side until they also support OpenXR (and contribute to it, if they aren’t already).

  • kontis

    It looks like Khronos gave up on 1 half of the OpenXR project: the Device API.
    It seems that vendors will stil use their own ecosystems, instead of just releasing a driver, to let you use the device and OpenXR won’t touch that aspect as originally promised.

    So SteamVR headsets will never work without Steam installed etc.

    • Yeah, that seems like a bit of a given, it would have been really hard to get competing companies to all use the same platform and not have it be one of those company’s platforms.

    • ZNixian

      I think a contributor to it’s absence is that noone really seemed to use multiple devices with SteamVR.

      Back in 2016 Valve was saying (and it seemed reasonable enough) that lots of different manufacturers were all going to make lighthouse-based SteamVR accessories – which never ended up happening. I suspect that’s where the motivation for the device layer came from.

  • What the heck is Monado? hmmm

    • guest

      Monado is the first OpenXR™ runtime for GNU/Linux. AKA Enterprise XR

      • Aha! thanks for the info, that’s quite interesting!

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Now, if Sony is also supporting OpenXR, it would also make it easier to support the PSVR for a lot of developers.

  • AMAZING piece of news! As a developer I can only welcome the widespread adoption of OpenXR so that to develop only once and deploy everywhere!

  • david vincent

    With the advent of OpenXR, can we expect that SteamVR games will not micro-stutter anymore on Rift ? (A lot of rifters have to use OpenComposite to fix that issue).