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Microsoft, Meta, Qualcomm, W3C band together for metaverse open standards group

Meta, Epic Games, Microsoft and 33 other companies have banded together for a standards group for “metaverse” tech. The Metaverse Standards Forum will foster open, interoperable standards for augmented and virtual reality, 3D and geospatial tech.

The forum said in a press release that it would focus on “pragmatic, action-based projects” such as hackathons and prototyping tools to support common standards. It is also interested in developing “consistent terminology” for the metaverse — despite disagreements over what a “metaverse” actually is.

The other founding members of the group include major pre-metaverse entities such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Qualcomm, Nvidia, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Unity. Newer companies such as Lamina1, a blockchain payments startup, have also joined the bandwagon.

The forum, however, is still missing big names. Apple, which is working on AR/VR tech tech, is the biggest exclusion. Niantic and Roblox, which made early strides in blending games and virtual worlds, are also absent. More members could join after the group begins operation — its first meeting is expected this year.

“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 group said.

“Building an open and inclusive metaverse at pervasive scale will demand a constellation of open interoperability standards.”

“Metaverse” is a catch-all term for virtual worlds and many subfields already have standards bodies, including some which have joined the Metaverse Standards Forum. Open standards, however, don’t mean that companies will create the metaverse as an interlinked space resembling the World Wide Web. But open standards would make it easier for developers to build the same content for different platforms or for users to export data from one platform to another.

The forum suggests an interest in formalizing the “metaverse” development as an unified field.

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