After a couple years of being driven primarily by the startups, the virtual reality industry is growing to be one increasingly dominated by the big dogs.
There’s still a sizable amount of fragmentation in the industry as well a high chance of failure for many of the efforts currently being undertaken. For these reasons some of the biggest names in the industry, Google, HTC, Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Acer have joined forces to create the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA) which aims to “unlock and maximize VR’s potential,” but its really not clear what this all means for consumers.
What many in the VR community have been thirsting for is some unification of standards in terms of software and hardware. Games bought in the Oculus store don’t play on the Vive or PS VR. Sensors for the Vive don’t work on Oculus. Sony doesn’t play nice with anyone else’s standards etc. etc.
Valve, which makes the Steam store and SteamVR platform for the HTC Vive and others, is notably not a member of this collective so any hopes of a unified standard (like its OpenVR platform) emerging from this collective is likely not in the cards.
A note from the press release:
The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association will promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally. Association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.
Not really clear what this all means, but more communication can’t be a bad thing, right?