Grab your motion controllers, kids. It’s time to join our digital hands and sing “We are the World” … or maybe “We are the VRorld.”
Facebook’s Oculus, Google, HTC, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Samsung, and Acer have joined together to form a VR-industry consortium called the Global Virtual Reality Association. This is a nonprofit organization that will see the various companies coming together to determine and share best practices for the budding VR market, which some analysts predict could generate as much as $40 billion in revenues by 2020.
The GVRA will focus the bulk of its effort on creating an environment where hardware and software meets a certain set of guidelines in an effort to increase adoption of the technology around the world. This group is also now a point-of-contact for the VR industry as a whole, so policymakers and outside industries that have questions or curiosities can reach out to the GVRA to get answers.
As part of a series of canned comments, Acer chief executive Jerry Kao noted that something like this is crucial for building a strong foundation that the future of VR can grow. Spokespeople from the other companies, like Google, echoed that.
“The GVRA is a necessary first step toward ensuring great VR experiences for everyone,” Google immersive design director Jon Wiley said in a statement. “[We’ll accomplish that] through collaborating on research and sharing best practices as the field grows and evolves. We look forward to working with our industry colleagues.”
Absent from this consortium, however, is industry leader Valve Software. That company makes the Steam VR platform that powers the HTC Vive and also enables headsets like the Oculus Rift to play virtual reality software from the Steam PC-gaming portal. But, unlike the rest of the GVRA members, Valve does not manufacture its own hardware. I’ve asked Valve if that is why it is not participating.
But for now, it’s nice to see corporations championing the power of collective action.