GDC 2017: Vive ‘Working’ to Join Oculus on a Committee for Open VR Standards

by Joe Durbin • February 27th, 2017

Earlier this morning the Khronos Group announced a name and details for its open virtual and augmented reality standard committee. Christened now as the Open XR Working Group, the organization will be comprised of representatives from the worlds leading AR/VR companies. Today’s announcement indicated that most of the major VR imprints have been granted membership into the group including: Oculus, Valve, Unity, Epic, Samsung, and Google. One name, however was missing from that list.

HTC’s VR subsidiary, Vive, was not included as an included member of the Open XR Working Group. The Vive headset gets its content through Steam and its own Viveport distribution platforms. Vive has been considered a more open headset than its chief competitor, the Oculus Rift, due to the accessibility of those platforms and its willingness to make its in-house content compatible with the Rift.

Last week at DICE, Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin challenged this perceived openness indirectly during a panel interview where he stated that “a truly open platform can not come from just one company” and that the correct way to create standards in VR is as a multi-corporation consortium. Rubin and Oculus are putting their money where their mouth is by joining Open XR and it seems they will soon be joined by Vive as well.

According to an HTC spokesperson, Vive is actively working to join the working group as well:

“We share the same vision as Khronos with keeping VR an open platform, and are currently working with Khronos to formally join their initiative and membership.”

The goal of Open XR is to create “an open and royalty-free standard for VR and AR applications and devices” that makes it easier for the myriad of devices and content platforms available now to work together seamlessly. The question of openness has hovered around Vive and Oculus throughout the lead up to and past the launches of their respective headsets.

Now, thanks to this new working group the two will finally have the chance to work together to solve this problem once and for all pending Vive’s admission to the committee.

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