Meta, Microsoft and other tech giants racing to build the emerging metaverse concept have formed a group to advance the development of industry standards that would make the companies’ nascent digital worlds compatible with each other.
Participants in the Metaverse Standards Forum include many of the largest companies working in the space, from chip manufacturers to gaming companies, as well as established standards like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). creation on Tuesday.
For now, however, Apple is missing from the membership list, which analysts expect will become a dominant player in the metaverse race once it introduces a mixed reality headset this or next year.
Gaming companies Roblox and Niantic were also not part of the forum’s participants, nor were emerging crypto-based metaverse platforms like The Sandbox or Decentraland.
Apple has not yet publicly acknowledged plans for a headset, although it has reportedly given its board a taste of the product, Bloomberg reported. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new metaverse forum.
The introduction of such a device would put Apple in direct competition with Meta, which has staked its future on growing the metaverse and invested heavily in hardware to make its vision of interconnected virtual worlds a reality.
Meta, known as Facebook until it changed its name last year as part of its metaverse pivot, announced plans Monday for a mixed-reality headset codenamed “Cambria” to be released this year.
Zuckerberg said it would be “lighter” and “thinner” than other VR headsets on the market. “These prototypes are custom and custom models that we built in our lab, so they’re not products ready to ship,” Zuckerberg said.
Meta said in February it expects to spend at least $10 billion (€9.5 billion) this year on research and development in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
Take a bite out of Apple
Meanwhile, Apple has been deeply 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 chipmaker Nvidia who chairs 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 different standardization organizations and companies to bring about “true interoperability” in the metaverse, he said, without going into how Apple’s absence would affect that goal.