If 2016 was the year that VR “arrived” in the public consciousness, then 2017 may well be the year that the new video tech goes fully mainstream. In a major sign of intent, VR’s current giants have just joined forces to create the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA).
Big Guns Playing Nice Together
With a stated mission to “promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally”, the newly formed GVRA comprises the biggest guns in the VR field, including Google, Samsung, Sony Interactive, Facebook’s Oculus, HTC VIVE and Acer Starbreeze.
The non-profit coalition signals the first steps towards something like global standards and a real push towards making VR technology a part of everyday computing and media consumption.
Making VR easier for consumers
For all the buzz around VR, current market and standards fragmentation is holding the tech back. As it stands, there isn’t a great degree of cross-brand compatibility, in terms of both hardware and software/video content.
In some ways, it’s a bit of a throwback to the Beta versus VHS standards wars of the 80s, or Bluray versus HDVD in the naughties. Only certain brand’s hardware will work with certain producer’s content format.
The formation of the GVRA seems to indicate a willingness amongst the industries to create global standards. That should make it much easier for interested consumers to get into the market without having to take a gamble on which manufacturer/format will become the standard.
The move seems savvy. By taking a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats approach, VR’s biggest players look deadly serious about consolidating the new tech in the mainstream as quickly as possible.