Some of the world's largest virtual reality (VR) companies partnered up to form the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA). The nonprofit organization counts among its members Starbreeze, Oculus, Samsung, Google, and HTC Vive, all of which plan to work together to expand the VR industry.
The companies will collaborate to "develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together," GVRA said in its announcement. They also plan for the nonprofit to eventually "serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR." A rising tide lifts all boats, or so the saying goes, and these companies want to buoy the VR market. Here's what the organization said about its mission:
VR has the potential to be the next great computing platform, improving sectors ranging from education to healthcare, and contribute significantly to the global economy. Through research, international engagement, and the development of best practices, the founding companies of the Global Virtual Reality Association will work to unlock and maximize VR’s potential and ensure those gains are shared as broadly around the world as possible.
There are some notable companies missing from GVRA's members list. Microsoft does not appear to be part of the group despite its plans to make VR, augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) available to the masses. Sony also isn't listed as a member despite the popularity of PlayStation VR--but that could just be an oversight, as the company is mentioned in GVRA's announcement and the PlayStation logo appears on the organization's website.
Still, the group's founding members are still titans of the VR industry. HTC's Vive is among the best VR HMDs available today, Oculus helped kickstart VR's rise in popularity over the last few years, and Google pushed VR to reach more people with inexpensive platforms like Cardboard and Daydream. Smaller businesses are also developing interesting VR tech, but GVRA is comprised of the biggest companies operating in the nascent industry.
This is how those companies plan to use their combined resources, according to the GVRA website:
[T]he organization will foster dialogue between public and private stakeholders in VR around the world and make education and training material available to the public. Working groups will be organized around important topics for the industry, enabling us to produce relevant research and guidance. We will also host and participate in international discussions on important topics in VR to shape the public discussion on the technology. Ultimately, the group will develop best practices and share them openly.
Tom's Hardware contacted Sony and GVRA for clarification on the company's role in the group. We also asked GVRA if Microsoft was invited to join the organization and, if so, why it didn't join these other companies in trying to push the VR industry forward. We'll update this story if we hear back.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.
I'm guessing best practices like a single SDK and not letting any game work with any headset are not what they're interested in, i.e. "we want to do what's best for US, not the consumers or the industry."Reply
oops, get rid of first 'not'.Reply
I think this will be about as successful as OpenGL. There is no way Sony or Microsoft would join. They have no intention of making their patents openly available. That is where Microsoft's $$ is.Reply
I say until they can figure out a way to do VR without a headset (see Star Trek Holodeck), this effort will be as successful as the 3D television push by manufacturers a decade ago (by which there was really no demand for 3D).Reply
I'm a gamer and have only the slightest curiosity about these headsets knowing all of the limitations and performance issues with them. TBH I don't want to wear anything on my head larger than gaming headphones while gaming if possible (even these annoy me). In 10-20 years when they slim these things down, I may consider them if I'm still around.
They need to work with Khronos group and their new OpenVR project.Reply