SteamVR's latest update for Windows officially adds support for OpenXR, the standard meant to make cross-platform AR and VR apps more common. The Khronos Group launched the OpenXR specification in 2019 to provide developers a way to build a single app that can run on various devices across brands instead of having to create specific versions for each one. Valve revealed its plans to transition to the OpenXR API last year and made support available in SteamVR Beta at the same time.
As RoadtoVR notes, SteamVR adding support for the standard is a huge step forward for its adoption. The platform supports a wide variety of PC-compatible headsets, after all, which means developers can reach a wider audience without having to build more apps. They can also distribute their OpenXR apps made for SteamVR on other platforms that support the specification. At the moment, the list of OpenXR-conformant platforms and devices include the Oculus Quest and Quest 2, Microsoft HoloLens 2, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the VIVE Cosmos.
In addition to OpenXR support, the latest Steam update also adds new settings that gives users more control over motion smoothing, automatic throttling and prediction behavior. Some apps that perform poorly on VR/XR devices might run better at a lower framerate, and the new settings will make doing that possible.