After announcing the OpenXR working group this year at GDC, Khronos members are working hard to bring the standard to life, while also educating the industry on the importance of this upcoming technology. This week, VRDC brings together creators and key influencers in the virtual and augmented reality industries for the latest technology demos and discussions on best practices. During the show in San Francisco, some of our members will join a panel to discuss OpenXR and fragmentation in the AR/VR/MR industry.
The panel — OpenXR News: Converging on a Widely Accepted VR API Standard — will include five panelists who are active participants in the OpenXR workgroup: Yuval Boger, CEO of Sensics; Nick Whiting, Technical Director at Epic Games and Chair of the OpenXR Working Group; Kaye Mason, API Le; Joe Ludwig, Programmer, Valve; and Paul Pedriana, Engineer, Oculus.
The panel will address AR/VR API fragmentation, highlighting the need for OpenXR. VR growth is reaching into medical, hospitality, entertainment, and even business future applications. While the technology carries great potential both for entertainment and practical reasons, fragmentation in the market could stunt its potential and path to adoption. The OpenXR API is being created to address this fragmentation in the market, where currently multiple vendors provide different and incompatible APIs.
This is an obstacle to industry growth as applications need to spend significant resources porting to multiple platforms. Also, without a standard, hardware companies have to work to convince application developers and engine providers to support their new devices. Consumers are also impacted, unsure which device to commit to, as today’s software may be incompatible with future hardware.
The Khronos Group joined together to find a resolution for the VR and AR industries with OpenXR — named as such to be compatible with the respective needs of both virtual and augmented reality. OpenXR will address the market fragmentation by being able to be run any VR system, or integrated on any VR device across manufacturers. The API standard is currently in design, but should be available next year to help head off further industry fragmentation.
Many companies are involved in the creation of OpenXR, or have expressed their support of it. At VRDC we’re looking forward to more support, understanding, and enthusiasm for this upcoming standard and eventually a better XR industry.