OpenXR Overview


The OpenXR™ working group – previously known as the Khronos VR Initiative - is creating an open and royalty-free standard for VR and AR applications and devices.

The Problem

The Industry need for a Virtual Reality Standard

The Industry need for a Virtual Reality Standard

Without a cross-platform standard, VR and AR applications, games, engines, and devices must use each VR/AR platform’s proprietary APIs.

In turn, this means that each platform can only use the apps and devices that have been specifically ported. The result is high develop- ment costs, industry fragmentation, and confused customers – limiting market growth.

The Solution

The Industry need for a Virtual Reality Standard

The cross-platform VR standard eliminates industry fragmentation by enabling applications to be written once to run on any VR system, and to access VR devices integrated into those VR systems to be used by applications.

OpenXR Architecture

Note that the design of the OpenXR specification is in progress, and so while the above diagrams represents the design goals of the group - final details may change

Note that the design of the OpenXR specification is in progress, and so while the above diagrams represents the design goals of the group - final details may change

OpenXR defines two levels of API interfaces that a VR platform’s runtime can use to access the OpenXR ecosystem.

Apps and engines use standardized interfaces to interrogate and drive devices. Devices can self-integrate to a standardized driver interface.

Standardized hardware/software interfaces reduce fragmentation while leaving implementation details open to encourage industry innovation.

Now is the perfect time to get involved!

The OpenXR Working Group has recently completed its exploratory phase, and work has begun creating the actual standard. The work has just started – so this is your chance to influence its direction!

Who else is Involved in this initiative?

Here are just some of the companies helping to get this initiative under way. Many more companies are already getting involved. Your company can be one of them!

VR contributing Members


“With VR on the verge of rapid growth across all of the major platform families, this new Khronos open standards initiative is very timely. We at Epic Games will wholeheartedly contribute to the effort, and we'll adopt and support the resulting API in Unreal Engine,” said Tim Sweeney, founder & CEO, Epic Games.

“Open standards which allow developers to more easily create compelling, cross platform experiences will help bring the magic of VR to everyone. We look forward to working with our industry colleagues on this initiative,” said Mike Jazayeri, director product management, Google VR.

“Khronos’ open APIs have been immensely valuable to the industry, balancing the forces of differentiation and innovation against gratuitous vendor incompatibility. As virtual reality matures and the essential capabilities become clear in practice, a cooperatively developed open standard API is a natural and important milestone. Oculus is happy to contribute to this effort,” said John Carmack, CTO, Oculus VR.

“Virtual reality’s success is dependent on a large thriving market of hardware where casual and professional consumers alike can take their pick without worry of fragmentation and incompatibility,” said Christopher Mitchell, OSVR business lead, Razer. “This has been OSVR’s vision from day one and we are thrilled to be a part of the Khronos Group in order to push standardization of interfaces across the industry.”

Future virtual reality platforms that are truly mobile - unencumbered by cables, with full 6 degrees of freedom motion tracking, will deliver the most immersive experiences for consumers” says Avinash Seetharamaiah, VP Graphics and Camera software. “Our team at Qualcomm Technologies is excited to be working with our partners and Khronos to define efficient new APIs for unparalleled mobile VR user experiences.

“The number of VR systems on the market is growing rapidly. Most of these require separate API support from the developer, which is causing huge fragmentation for consumers,” said Gabe Newell of Valve. “Khronos’ work on a standard API to enable applications to target a wide variety of VR devices is an important step to counter that trend.”

Read the Call for Participation Press Release

December 6th 2016 – SIGGRAPH Asia - Macau – The Khronos Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced a call for participation in a new initiative to define a cross-vendor, royalty-free, open standard for access to modern virtual reality (VR) devices.


How do I get Involved!

Details about joining Khronos.
Every Khronos member can participate in any Khronos initiative.

Contact us with questions