Meta, Microsoft, and Sony join group pledging an open metaverse
Most big XR companies have joined the Metaverse Standards Forum, but not Apple or Google.
What you need to know
- The Metaverse Standards Forum is an organization dedicated to building an open, interoperable metaverse.
- The forum will focus on collaborative hackathons, open-source tooling, and consistent standards across different metaverse projects.
- 37 companies and nonprofits have joined thus far, including Adobe, Epic Games, Huawei, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Sony.
The world wide web has a Consortium for consistent standards and accessibility across the internet, so every site you visit functions as it should. Now, the new Metaverse Standards Forum will try to make the future metaverse just as open and interoperable.
Announced on June 22, the Metaverse Standards Forum (MSF) is free to any organization that wants to join and collaborate. Big names in VR/AR (Meta, Microsoft), gaming (Epic Games, Sony), and the non-profit world have already signed on.
MSF's press release notes that the group is committed to "pragmatic, action-based projects such as implementation prototyping, hackathons, plugfests, and open-source tooling to accelerate the testing and adoption of metaverse standards."
It will also develop "consistent terminology and deployment guidelines" for companies' metaverse projects; but the main focus seems to be fostering talent and developing shared ideas across virtual worlds.
The biggest name to join the Forum is Meta, which changed its name from Facebook and launched its Metaverse plans last year. At the time, it seemed the company wanted to stake a claim of ownership over the concept. But by joining the Metaverse Standards Forum, it seems Meta is showing a desire to play nice with other companies, which could in turn allow those brands to create products that appear on future Meta Quest headsets.
"Creators, developers and companies will all benefit from the technologies and experiences that will be made possible by common protocols," said Vishal Shah, vice president of Metaverse at Meta.
Two notable absent names from this collaborative effort? Apple and Google. Apple has reportedly ignored the idea of making any "metaverse" efforts with its VR/AR headset, and will likely release a device that follows its own standards rather than whatever standards the MSF fosters.
As for Google, we know it is hard at work on its own AR/VR headset, Project Iris. Google has offered a mostly open ecosystem with Android, and we would be curious to see if the company takes any interest in collaborating with other companies for an interoperable ecosystem, or if it would want to control its own.
Dive into the pre-metaverse
We won't see a true virtual metaverse of sci-fi imaginings for a long time yet, but the Quest 2 is the next best thing available today, with hundreds of virtual experiences to enjoy.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.