Meta, Microsoft and other tech giants racing to build the emerging metaverse concept have formed a group to foster the development of industry standards that would make the companies’ nascent digital worlds compatible with each other.
The organization is called Metaverse Standards Forum, and its founding members include Meta, Microsoft, Huawei, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Epic Games, Unity, and Adobe. As Reuters notes, one company that’s conspicuously missing from the list is Apple.
Multiple reports have come out these past few years that Apple is releasing its virtual or augmented reality headset, and it’s expected to become a major player in the metaverse when the device becomes available.
Conspicuously missing from the member list for now however is Apple, which analysts expect to become a dominant player in the metaverse race once it introduces a mixed reality headset this year or next? Gaming companies Roblox and Niantic also were not included among the forum’s participants, nor were emerging crypto-based metaverse platforms like The Sandbox or Decentraland.
Yet another big name that’s missing from the list is Google, which is also reportedly working on an AR headset codenamed Project Iris. Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, and Roblox aren’t on the list of members, as well. That said, membership is free and open to any organization, so more companies could join later on.
As with any standard, one for the metaverse would only be considered a success if companies, especially the biggest players in the industry, adopt them. “Multiple industry leaders have stated that the potential of the metaverse will be best realized if it is built on a foundation of open standards,” the forum wrote in its press release.
Introducing such a device would put Apple in direct competition with Meta, which has staked its future on the growth of the metaverse and invested heavily in hardware to make its vision of interconnected virtual worlds a reality.
Meta and Microsoft Paired Up
Meta, known as Facebook until it changed its name as part of its metaverse pivot last year, has disclosed plans for a mixed-reality headset code-named “Cambria” to be released this year. Apple has been heavily involved in creating web standards such as HTML5 in the past. For three-dimensional content in the metaverse, Apple worked with Pixar on the “USDZ” file format and with Adobe to ensure it supported the format.
Neil Trevett, an executive at chip maker Nvidia who is chairing the Metaverse Standards Forum, said in a statement to Reuters that any company is welcome to join the group, including participants from the crypto world. The forum aims to facilitate communication between a variety of standards organizations and companies to bring about “real-world interoperability” in the metaverse, he said, without addressing how Apple’s absence would affect that goal.