VR headset manufacturers including Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, Acer Starbreeze and Sony Interactive Entertainment have come together to establish the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA).
The association is a non-profit organisation for international VR headset manufacturers to promote the growth of the VR industry. According to the companies, the association will help develop best practices for the industry, as well as share them and foster dialogue between several stakeholders around the world.
The association said: “The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally. The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.”
For few years now, virtual reality (VR) has mainly been a domain for start-ups. But in recent months, several tech giants including Google, Samsung, HTC, Facebook, Acer and Sony have either acquired these start-ups or have started their own companies to develop a technology platform for virtual reality.
Google Immersive Design director Jon Wiley said: “The GVRA is a necessary first step toward ensuring great VR experiences for everyone, through collaborating on research and sharing best practices as the field grows and evolves. We look forward to working with our industry colleagues.”
Facebook’s Oculus general counsel Jordan McCollum said: “We’re still very much in the early stages of VR, so it’s critical that industry leaders work together to create and share ideas on how we can safely build this industry. I’m looking forward to working with other hardware makers to proactively address the challenges we need solve to make VR a success over the long term.”
However, two very big names in the tech industry were conspicuous in their absense from the new association line-up – Apple and Microsoft.
Apple has long kept its distance from virtual reality, with CEO Tim Cook recently telling Buzzfeed News about the importance of human interaction. “There’s no substitute for human contact,” Cook told BuzzFeed News. “And so you want the technology to encourage that.”
It is not the first time that Cook has pointed to his company favouring AR, saying that he thought ’AR can be huge’ in an earnings call earlier this summer.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is seen as a rival to Oculus Rift with its current Hololens VR headset. Although Microsoft remains to be a participant of the new VR Association, the tech giant has made notable partnerships in efforts to further its VR portfolio. One such partnership is with Intel, with the joint ‘Project Evo’ expected to bring VR to PCs in 2017.