It's no secret that the world of virtual reality is fragmented. This fragmentation requires developers to port and customize their software for multiple devices, a costly and time-consuming process. As a result, consumers selecting a headset are buying into a more-or-less specific set of games and applications. To address this problem, the Khronos Group announced a new initiative to define an open standard for virtual reality devices.
The Khronos Group, whose resumé includes the OpenGL and Vulkan standards, has broad ambitions and a wide array of industry partners for this initiative. Khronos intends to create open, royalty-free standards that will allow developers to port their applications to any compatible device. Ideally, this will create a better experience for users, allowing them to treat VR headsets like any other peripheral.
The list of companies who have already undersigned this gentlemen's agreement is rather impressive. Khronos has already assembled a group that reads like an all-star cast of the video gaming world. Headset manufacturers Valve, Oculus, and Google are part of the initiative. Major players in the hardware space like Intel, Nvidia, and AMD have also indicated that they'll be involved. The all-star cast for Khronos's initiative is complete with Epic Games, ARM, Tobii, and Razer.
The next steps for the open standard include an exploratory phase to make a decision on the project's scope and objectives. More detailed proposals and designs will follow. While the process is certain to take some time, industry partners are urged to contact Khronos and start contributing to the discussions and planning.