SideQuest is now a member of the Khronos Group with plans to support the industry standard OpenXR.
While we are still in the early days of adoption for OpenXR among developers, the standard is already initially supported by runtimes from Facebook, Valve and Microsoft with game engines Unity and Unreal on board as well. SideQuest’s support for Khronos and OpenXR could one day make it easier — or cheaper — for developers to release early access applications that will run on a wider range of headsets.
It will still take years for developers to build new applications for headsets using OpenXR. The hardware responsible for computing the physics and drawing the walls of virtual worlds differ quite a bit between standalones like Oculus Quest and PC-powered systems. These differences mean that developers will still need to make at least two versions of their OpenXR app to run on all headsets, one for a standalones like Quest and the other for PC-based Windows systems.
There are some games already that sell access to both a .apk you can install to Quest and a .zip file you can download to your PC. One such example is Tommy Maloteaux,’s Deisim, which is sold via the indie game store Itch.io for several dollars. Maloteaux works for SideQuest now and explained how OpenXR would’ve changed things for him if he started fresh today:
“This is a project I made 4 years ago and that I am still actively maintaining so each new market fragmentation introduced by a new headset is complicating my life. If I started fresh today I would probably abstract myself from the vendors SDK as much as possible before I build the project to be sure to not lose a lot of time in maintenance like I did for Deisim. I made a system to mitigate that issue in Deisim now allowing me to quickly implement something around each new vendor SDK but I am looking forward for what OpenXR will bring to the table. Games are not made, sold and forgotten as it once was and I truly believe that having that layer of abstraction will not only avoid a lot of issues for most developers but also allow players in the future to experience what was made by VR pioneers regardless of their VR headset.”
We’ll of course be watching this space closely to see what SideQuest does with OpenXR in the future and how the standard affects developers going forward.