Metaverse standards: Industry consortium gains traction

Metaverse standards: Industry consortium gains traction

The goal of the MSF is to lay the groundwork for an interoperable metaverse. The organization is growing rapidly and is presenting its first interim results.

The Metaverse Standards Forum began its work in June 2022. Led by Khronos Group, the industry consortium gathers many key players, including Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Epic, Unity, Sony, Qualcomm and Adobe.

The goal is to agree on industry-wide interoperability standards. Interoperability is seen as one of the core features of the metaverse, and therefore requires close collaboration and compromise between platform operators.

The good news is that the MSF is experiencing brisk growth: Since its inception two months ago, the forum has grown to more than 1,500 members. These include companies and so-called SDOs. This refers to organizations involved in standards development. Joining is free of charge.

Forum agrees on work areas

“This level of interest is a strong indication that the industry does believe that the metaverse needs to be based on a foundation of open standards, and that we need cooperation to build those standards effectively,” the press release states.

What else has happened since the project started?

The forum met at regular intervals and agreed on more than 200 topics to be addressed over time. They range from avatar animations and decentralized user IDs to blockchain interoperability, physics simulation, and ethical standards.

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Topics were grouped into areas and members voted on which topics would have the greatest impact:

  • 3D Interoperable Assets
  • Privacy, security, inclusion
  • User identity
  • Avatars and clothing
  • Integration of the physical and digital worlds
  • Teaching and education
  • Payment systems and economics
  • XR and user interfaces

The next steps are to form working groups for the respective areas. These will then have the task of developing initial guidelines, carrying out pilot projects, and forwarding the findings to the SDOs for evaluation.

A long way to go for metaverse standards

A lot of time is likely to pass before the initiative takes concrete shape. The OpenXR interface, also driven by Khronos Group, took more than two years for initial formulation and another two years for full implementation by platform operators Valve and Meta. OpenXR is likely to be more consensual than the targeted Metaverse standards. So the MSF still has a lot of work to do.

The fact that major players such as Apple are not participating and prefer to develop their own standards could further complicate their progress and success.