Pico headsets are now fully compliant with the OpenXR standard, the company says.
OpenXR is the open standard API for VR and AR development. It was developed by Khronos, the same non-profit industry consortium managing OpenGL. OpenXR includes all the major companies in the space such as Meta, Sony, Valve, Microsoft, HTC, NVIDIA, and AMD – but notably not Apple. It officially released in 2019.
The eventual promise of OpenXR is to let developers build apps that can run on any headset without having to specifically add support by integrating proprietary SDKs. Developers still need to compile separate builds for different operating systems, but all current standalone VR headsets use Android.
Meta deprecated the proprietary Oculus API almost two years ago in favor of OpenXR, so Pico’s change should make it easier for certain OpenXR apps to be ported over. But ‘certain’ here means native apps written using a custom engine. Most mobile VR apps and games are made in Unity, and Pico’s Unity OpenXR Plugin is marked as “an experiment version and is not available for formal development”, last updated in October.
Even if the Unity integration supported OpenXR, there are other barriers to releasing VR apps to other stores. Platform-level APIs like friend invites, parties, leaderboards, cloud saves, and avatars still differ. Porting involves a lot more work than the dream of OpenXR may suggest.