Meta, Nvidia, Microsoft etc Create Metaverse Standards Forum

A group of tech firms on Tuesday founded a standards body to ensure interoperability in the emerging ‘Metaverse’ segment.

Founding members of the so called ‘Metaverse Standards Forum‘ include the likes of Adobe, Alibaba, Epic Games, Huawei, Ikea, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Sony, and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Apple is notable by its absence.

The Metaverse was announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in July 2021, when he revealed how the firm wants to transition from social media to ‘metaverse’ technology, creating immersive experiences that connect to work, games and real-world events.

Image credit: Facebook

Metaverse concept

The term, coined from science fiction, refers to the use of VR technology to create a semi-autonomous virtual world that’s interconnected with physical reality.

Zuckerberg previously described the concept as an “embodied internet” where “instead of just viewing content – you are in it”, and said it could have benefits for people living far from large urban centres.

He said “metaverse” technology would also allow people to be “engaged more naturally” with technology, rather than living through “small, glowing rectangles”.

Image credit: Facebook

In October last year, Facebook said it would create 10,000jobs across the EU to help build its ‘Metaverse’ semi-autonomous virtual world.

Is the Metaverse a realistic prospect for businesses? Read Silicon UK’s interview with CTO of Momentum Worldwide.

But last November one of Facebook’s earliest investors, Roger McNamee, slammed the Metaverse concept, and warned that Facebook “should not be allowed to create a dystopian metaverse.

Metaverse Standards Forum

So what exactly does the newly formed ‘Metaverse Standards Forum’ intend to do?

According to its press release, the forum will seek “industry-wide cooperation on interoperability standards needed to build the open metaverse.”

“The Forum will explore where the lack of interoperability is holding back metaverse deployment and how the work of Standards Developing Organisations (SDOs) defining and evolving needed standards may be coordinated and accelerated,” it said.

Any organisation can join at no cost, the Forum will apparently focus on pragmatic, action-based projects such as implementation prototyping, hackathons, plugfests, and open-source tooling to accelerate the testing and adoption of metaverse standards, while also developing consistent terminology and deployment guidelines.

“Building a metaverse for everyone will require an industry-wide focus on common standards,” said Vishal Shah, VP of Metaverse at Meta.

“The Metaverse Standards Forum can drive the collaboration that’s needed to make this possible, and Meta is committed to this work,” said Shah. “Creators, developers and companies will all benefit from the technologies and experiences that will be made possible by common protocols.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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