PC gamers of a certain age may be reminded of multimedia PC standards. First defined in 1991 by a group of industry heavyweights, it established the benchmark for PCs capable of handling multimedia content. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to understand which PCs can help them enter the exciting new era of CD-ROM technology, and, presumably, give them the confidence to take that step (and spend the money).
Something similar is happening in the metaverse now.Industry heavyweights including Epic Games, Microsoft, Nvidia, Sony, Unity, and of course Meta have come together to build Metaverse Standards Forum (opens in new tab)which will “promote interoperability standards for open virtual worlds”.
Unlike the relatively simple job of setting minimum PC specs, the group won’t create standards for virtual worlds, presumably because no one really knows what a virtual world is right now.they are very excited about it (opens in new tab)But to make the wheels turn faster, the goal here is to “coordinate needs and resources to facilitate the creation and development of standards within standards bodies working in related fields”.
“Metaverse will bring together a variety of technologies, requiring a set of interoperability standards created and maintained by many standards organizations,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group, the forum’s organizer. “The Metaverse Standards Forum is a unique blend of coordination between standards organizations and industry. Place, whose mission is to promote the pragmatic and timely standardization that is essential for an open and inclusive Metaverse.”
The Khronos Group may sound like an evil group from a James Bond movie, but it’s actually pretty legitimate. It is a non-profit organization established more than 20 years ago by software and hardware companies such as AMD, Apple, Arm, Google, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Valve, etc. It is the developer of well-known standards such as OpenGL, Vulkan, WebGL, etc. In other words, It’s a major force in the industry, bringing other big players into the process of setting new metaverse standards.
“Building a Metaverse for everyone requires an industry-wide focus on common standards,” said Vishal Shah, vice president of Metaverse at Facebook’s parent company Meta. Developers, developers and companies alike will benefit from the technology and experience enabled by the common protocol.”
Epic Games is also on board — no surprise, since Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is a long-term booster (opens in new tab) Metaverse concept. “We are excited to help launch the Metaverse Standards Forum, an industry-led collaborative effort to accelerate the development and adoption of interoperability standards,” said Mark Petit, VP of Unreal Engine Ecosystem. “Our goal is to Build an open metaverse that enriches humanity and has a thriving, fair ecosystem of millions of creators.”
Rev Lebaredian, Nvidia’s vice president of global and analog technologies, actually took action in defining what the Metaverse will be, calling it “the evolution of the Internet — from today’s 2D web views to immersive 3D spatial overlays.”
“For Metaverse to be successful and ubiquitous, it must be built on open standards, just like the 2D web is today – our participation in the Metaverse Standards Forum will help the community usher in a new era of collaboration and open 3D standards, This will form the basis of the metaverse,” Lebaredian said.
Epic is working with standards bodies and companies to help launch the @Metaverse_Forum, an industry-wide effort to ensure that everyone can participate equitably in the open Metaverse. Learn more ⬇️ https://t.co/JEUTvvCfYrJune 21, 2022
It seems a bit counterintuitive to establish standards for things that are still vaguely defined (although I think Wes almost did (opens in new tab) 2021), but the standards may finally give us the definition we lack: the Metaverse Standards Forum will focus on “implementation prototyping, hackathons, plugin festivals and open source tools” assets in areas such as interactive 3D, AR , VR and XR, user-created content, avatars, identity management, privacy and financial transactions. All in all, it sounds like the group is conceptualizing the metaverse with roughly the same mindset as Lebaredian: it’s the Internet, but in 3D.
Well, it’s not exactly a moonshot moment, but if the internet is to meaningfully evolve – it will in one way or another – develop industry-wide standards, and as dull as it may be, it is necessary To avoid confusion throughout the process. What it actually led to is anyone’s guess at this point: it could prove to be nothing more than a failed branding campaign, as the MPC standard did, but it could also be a move towards establishing a “true” “The Metaverse – whatever the end result.