Neil_TrevettThe Khronos Group announced on Tuesday that they have a critical mass of major VR players who are collaborating on a VR open standard. This VR open standard will have a software and hardware component that will enable VR application portability across VR platforms, but also minimize the cost for hardware integrations across different VR platforms. The Khronos Group has been able to get public support for this initiative from VR headset manufacturers including Valve, Oculus, Google, & OSVR as well as the major GPU and CPU players of AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, and ARM.

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Back in March 2015, Neil told me that the VR industry needed a period of innovation before trying to pin down an open standard. But now that the major VR headsets have now launched, there’s not enough significant differences between the major VR SDKs to warrant third-party hardware peripherals to have to create custom integrations. The benefits for standardization outweigh the costs of having a fractured ecosystem, because this VR open standard will enable smaller VR companies to write a single driver that allows them to interface with all of the major VR headsets.


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I had a chance to catch up with Khronos Group President Neil Trevett to talk about this call for participation on this VR open standard. There’s not a preliminary specification that’s been developed yet, but they wanted to go ahead and make this announcement in order to let the industry know that there’s enough consensus for this to happen, and to encourage participation from other upstart VR companies.

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Neil estimated that this standardization process usually takes around 18 months to finalize, but it may move quicker depending upon how motivated the major companies are to lock it down and remove barriers to innovation. Designing an open standard is more of an art than a science, and Neil said that they would try to limit the scope of the standard, but also allow for extensions. You can read more information about this initiative here with a number of quotes including Oculus, Valve, Google, OSVR, and Epic Games.


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  • So oculus will have to ditch the closed system they currently use…

    • Get Schwifty!

      The standard is just a commonly accepted way to do things, but one can always go off the farm and do something custom and I suspect this is where the extensions come in. What the standard DOES do is benefit the consumer by allowing competition to develop in the 3rd party vendor space to be OEM-agnostic. Oculus could easily (and probably will) continue to have Home with exclusives that are device aware, but they would hurt themselves by not allowing 3rd parties to develop to interface and that is where they would need to be open to draw support and consumer interest which is what this standard focuses on.

      That being said, I am glad and excited to see all of them sign on board to speed up the 3rd party vendors to support all the headsets.

      I was a bit disappointed to see no mention Magic Leap…

      • user

        maybe magic leap will be a daydream vr device. they could build their own ui for their main ar stuff and for vr use daydream.

      • Juanito Marquez

        Magic Leap have to face a bigger problem and that is to show public a real working device. Microsoft is already working with hardware partners to take HoloLens to the next level and Magic Leap are still just showing videos and promises.

        • Augure

          Magic leap is vaporware. Anything that over-advertises “revolutionary breakthrough innovation” without of course showing one bit of it is vaporware.

          In fact more specifically everything that advertises being a usable lightfield AR glasses is vaporware because the technology is just way far from being usable, that’s why HoloLens, Meta2 or ODG-R7 are just 2000$ prototypes.

      • Juanito Marquez
  • Moose

    This is INSANELY good for the VR ecosystem as a whole in the long term. Oculus won’t be able to wall off customers with proprietary APIs and will be forced to differentiate itself from the competition in a different way, an encouraged traditional consumer-friendly way that is. Also, it will increase the feasibility of porting games to other HMDS in the same vein that OpenGL works. Meaning more games and sales. I assume this is going to be called OpenVR. Good shit.

    • Get Schwifty!

      What exactly is in the article that makes you think Oculus cant still have exclusives? BTW, the SDK’s are very nearly identical according to the article. This whole standard is so 3rd party vendors can create device drivers for the HMDs, etc. from a standard… this in no way means vendors cant continue to do their own thing.

      • Moose

        Your confusing vendor exclusivity with API exclusivity. They are free to sell whatever game they want only on their system duh. But the API that the games are developed with will no longer be proprietary and Oculus exclusive.

    • ShiftyInc

      They can still have exclusive titles with this. But the whole having to use revive will be gone. But you will still see titles only for sale on Oculus Home and not on Steam for example.

    • Ted

      Insanely good or bad??? Is this the same Khronos that butchered up OpenGL and put all sorts of bad things in OpenGLES?

  • ummm…

    this is great. now we just have to learn to accept or stop needless hardware fracturing. as a pc guy, i like having the ability to create my experience through peripherals, but i can see how in vr that may be a headache to devs. lets come together guys – not split apart!

  • Roy Mudie

    At the same time it looks like Intel is trying to undermine this kind of thing with timed exclusive content for latest gen of i7 owners in Arizona Sunshine… Good times!

  • hyperskyper

    It’s pretty surprising to see Epic Games supporting an open standard. Their CEO Tim Sweeney says that he is against exclusivity and then they go and support Oculus with their Rift exclusive Robo Recall.

    • Guygasm

      Tim is against being forced to distribute only through a single store, i.e. UWP/Windows Store or Apple Store. Not the case with Oculus. Anyone can release any application in any store using the native Oculus SDK.

  • Alexander Hogan

    This is pretty much what I’ve been talking about. None of these guys got into VR to turn a quick buck; the ONLY way it works is as an industry collaboration, and the players mentioned recognize that because they are not idiots.

    • user

      absolutely. eric schmidt has said it many times: they often work together with competitors to grow the market and everybody benefits.

  • Jamie Murray

    No Sony?

  • Adrian Meredith

    This is great to see, but I can see theres no microsoft or apple mentioned here

  • Dominic Cerisano

    Neil said the open VR standard will be “write once, run anywhere”.
    None of the Khronos Group’s APIs are “write once, run anywhere” – VR is not going to suddenly get around that.

    The problem is there is no SDK that runs on all platforms (eg. Apple blocks Java). All apps will still have to be ported to the various platform SDKs.

    The fact the SDKs support the same APIs just makes porting easier, but that is far from “write once, run anywhere”.

  • The end of OSVR, just no need for it.

  • Augure

    This is eye-powder glitter. “We’re all going to get together, let me tell you this is going to be amazing, we’re going to have the best people in VR and we’re going to make VR great again”.

    Making VR is easy and it works, it’s not even 10% of the production process of a 3D interactive or visual experience. More software integration and standards will come but this is useless if nobody wants to use VR headset in the first place because of how bad they are conceived, even if they’re affordable/expensive.

    I don’t know how many people I see who have initial invested in a VR headset (wether Gear, Oculus DK/CV, Vive or OSVR) that is taking the dust or only being used for own testing purposes. By that I mean, almost nobody USES VR headset like they use any other consumer electronic device wether it’s PC, smartphone, console, TVs etc…

    I’ve already breakdown the problem many times, but I hope this kind of news can be taken as a good sign, unfortunately usually it isn’t because it shows how diverted and unperceptive of the strategical market stakes the main actors are.

  • Konchu

    Yay, This is what I like to see it will be a win win for everyone and what VR needs to thrive. With standards and competition prices can be drove down and thus adoption can rise. It really makes sense though for the tech to need to be out there 1st to lay a foundation for standards to be made.