Valve released a significant update to the SteamVR platform on Wednesday. Steam VR version 1.16.8 now supports the OpenXR 1.0 API, giving developers an easy path for cross-platform game releases.
Khronos Group revealed the OpenXR 1.0 specifications more than a year and a half ago. It has taken a while, but VR companies are finally getting around to embracing Khronos Group's plans. The idea behind OpenXR is to remove barriers that prevent developers from supporting all VR platforms. With OpenXR, theoretically, you can build a game once and play it with any hardware through any platform.
OpenXR is an application interface layer that interprets instructions from any game engine or XR platforms, such as Unity or WebXR. The OpenXR layer translates the instructions to work with any hardware, including Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, Magic Leap, or HoloLens 2.
Valve is a bit late to the party with its OpenXR implementation. Oculus committed to OpenXR in July 2020, Microsoft added support in October 2020, and HTC jumped onboard in November 2020. Even the SideQuest alternative store for Oculus Quest has beenpart of OpenXR for months. Valve is finally up to speed with this latest SteamVR release, which means developers can finally realize the potential of releasing games across multiple platforms without extra development time.
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