Meta, Microsoft, and other tech titans racing to create the emerging metaverse concept have formed a group to encourage the development of industry standards that will make the companies' nascent digital worlds compatible with one another.
The Metaverse Standards Forum includes many of the largest companies in the space, from chip makers to gaming companies, as well as known standards-setting bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), according to a statement released by the group on Tuesday.
Roblox and Niantic, as well as emerging crypto-based metaverse platforms like The Sandbox and Decentraland, were not among the forum's participants.
Apple, which experts expect to become a dominant player in the metaverse race once it reveals a mixed reality headset this year or next, is conspicuously absent from the list for the time being.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has not yet publicly acknowledged plans for a headset, but it has reportedly given its board a sneak peek of the product. It did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the new metaverse forum.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook until its metaverse pivot last year, has revealed plans for a mixed-reality headset codenamed "Cambria" to be released this year.
In the past, Apple has been heavily involved in the development of web standards such as HTML5. Apple collaborated with Pixar on the "USDZ" file format for three-dimensional content in the metaverse, and with Adobe to ensure the format was supported.
Neil Trevett, an executive at chipmaker Nvidia who chairs the Metaverse Standards Forum, told Reuters that any company, including crypto participants, is welcome to join the group.
He stated that the forum's goal is to facilitate communication between various standards organizations and companies in order to achieve "real-world interoperability" in the metaverse, without addressing how Apple's absence will affect that goal.
The Oasis Consortium, like the Metaverse Standards Forum, is missing some key players, such as Meta. And in the past, when internal conflict inevitably arises, groups like this have shrunk.
The Khronos Group, a nonprofit consortium working on AR/VR, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other topics, leads the Metaverse Standards Forum. Khronos previously attempted to establish a standard for VR APIs in 2016 with its similarly named VR Standards Initiative, which included companies such as Google, NVIDIA, Epic Games, and Oculus, which is now part of Meta.
Nonetheless, the forum indicates a desire to formalize "metaverse" development as a distinct field. And it hints at which companies are most engaged in developing accepted standards for it - or, at the very least, in being perceived as supporting these standards.