HTC’s Vive Focus 3 standalone headset now has beta support for OpenXR content.
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.
Last year Meta deprecated its proprietary Oculus SDK in favor of OpenXR, so Vive Focus 3’s support for OpenXR should make it easier for Quest apps to be ported. HTC still only markets the headset to businesses though – the $1299 price includes a two year business license, extended warranty, and priority support.
There are still barriers to releasing VR apps to other stores however. Platform level APIs like friend invites, parties, leaderboards, cloud saves, and avatars still differ. Porting involves a lot more work than the ideal of OpenXR may suggest.
Running OpenXR apps on Vive Focus 3 currently requires joining the beta program. For developers, HTC has instructions for building OpenXR content in Unity on the Vive forums.