June 24, 2022
The Metaverse Standards Forum is moving forward with plans to facilitate standards for an open, interoperable metaverse. The consortium, which announced this week it is open for business, emphasized it is not a new standards organization, but “will simply coordinate requirements and support for existing standards organizations developing standards relevant to the metaverse under their existing governance models and intellectual property frameworks.” It is backed by private firms including Meta, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Adobe, Nvidia, Epic Games and Sony Interactive, as well as non-profits like the World Wide Web Consortium, Web3D and the Academy Software Foundation.
The initiative is being organized by the Khronos Group, an Oregon-based consortium of 150 companies creating royalty-free interoperability standards for advanced 3D graphics, AR and VR and machine learning. The Forum’s goal: to ensure the metaverse won’t be a closed ecosystem controlled by only a few companies.
“The Forum will explore where the lack of interoperability is holding back metaverse deployment” and how the work of the standards development organizations (SDOs) that define evolving standards can be “coordinated and accelerated,” the group’s announcement explains.
“Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has been concerned enough about this threat of monopoly that he has sued Apple and Google, and others are wary about the investments that Meta is making that could put the company in the lead position for the metaverse,” writes VentureBeat.
While Meta Platforms is a founding member of the Forum, it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Apple and Google are not. Both companies are represented on the Academy Software Foundation board of governors, however, and Apple technology development group senior director Geoff Stahl and Google technical program manager Shannon Woods are directors of Khronos.
According to the Forum’s FAQ, general membership is free and more elevated principal members must “contribute effort to Forum oversight by joining oversight meetings and may wish to consider voluntarily funding Forum projects.”
Nvidia VP of developer ecosystems Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos board, is serving as inaugural chairman of the Metaverse Standards Forum board, according to Reuters.
In an interview with VentureBeat, Trevett predicts the evolution of the metaverse will be “bottom-up and Darwinian.” Establishing effective standards will, he says, help successful technologies deploy “pervasively through the industry,” removing “friction points” and enabling “healthy competition.”