The Khronos Group announced that Microsoft has joined the growing list of companies supporting OpenXR, a platform that's supposed to make it easier for developers to make software for multiple VR, AR, and MR devices. Instead of navigating the tangled web of operating systems and APIs that underpins existing devices, like they do now, developers would simply be able to create their apps and games for a unified platform.
Instead of looking like this:
The Khronos Group wants XR development to look like this:
OpenXR was revealed in February. Initially, the platform was supported by the likes of Qualcomm, Oculus, and Intel, among others. Support for the platform has steadily grown in the months since—ZSpace joined the working group in March, the developer behind ReVive signed on in September, and now Microsoft has joined as well. (You can find the full list of OpenXR-supporting companies on the Khronos Group's site.)
That support will be critical to OpenXR's success. We've seen before that industry standards often fail if notable platforms don't support them. Competing standards also hinder each other's chances of unifying the industry; just look at wireless charging to see what happens when companies don't agree on a standard. Windows Mixed Reality and HoloLens both make Microsoft a big "get" for the Khronos Group.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.
Clearly, for Microsoft, the biggest risk to their massive AR/VR investment is now that the market never materializes. So, it's not really surprising if they regard a healthy ecosystem to be worth even helping out some competitors.Reply