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Oculus Now Accepting OpenXR Apps on Quest & Rift, a Big Step for Cross-platform Development

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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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