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Global VR Association, Open VR Standards Initiative launched

Global VR Association, Open VR Standards Initiative launched

The Global VR Association has launched with some major industry names, while others work with the Kronos Group on the Open VR Standards Initiative.

A number of industry giants have joined forces to create the Global VR Association, at the same time as the Khronos Group announces the launch of the Open VR Standards Initiative.

A glance at the list of founders involved in the Global Virtual Reality Association, a coalition formed to 'promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally,' reads like a who's-who of the industry at present: HTC, Oculus VR, Samsung, Sony, Google, and the Acer-Starbreeze partnership make up the initial members, responsible for the Vive, Rift, Gear VR, PlayStation VR, Daydream, and StarVR headsets respectively. There are, however, a couple of notable absences: Razer, which is behind the OSVR project, is not a member, and neither is Steam VR creator and HTC Vive launch partner Valve.

'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,' claimed Jordan McCollum, general counsel for Oculus VR at corporate overlord Facebook of the new coalition. '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.'

'It is important that we as an industry are working together to establish best practices and common resources for our industry that will drive toward the $120 billion [market size] projection by 2020,' agreed Rikard Steiber, senior vice president of HTC's Vive arm. 'The GVRA represents industry leaders and hardware manufacturers across the globe who are creating the best VR experiences available.'

The group, its founders claim, will 'foster dialogue between public and private stakeholders in VR around the world and make education and training material available to the public. Working groups will be organised around important topics for the industry, enabling us to produce relevant research and guidance. We will also host and participate in international discussions on important topics in VR to shape the public discussion on the technology. Ultimately, the group will develop best practices and share them openly.'

It is not alone, however. As well as Razer's OSVR group, OpenGL and Vulkan creator Khronos Group has announced its own project to help encourage standardisation in a market which is currently beset by a critical lack of cross-platform compatibility. Dubbed the Open VR Standards Initiative, the group's aim is to create cross-vendor and royalty-free standards for everything from head tracking to VR runtime integration, and it counts AMD, ARM, Intel, Nvidia, Oculus, Epic Games, Google, Razer, and Valve among its partners on the project.

'Virtual reality's success is dependent on a large thriving market of hardware where casual and professional consumers alike can take their pick without worry of fragmentation and incompatibility,' claimed Christopher Mitchell, OSVR business lead at Razer, of the Open VR Standards Initiative. 'This has been OSVR’s vision from day one and we are thrilled to be a part of the Khronos Group in order to push standardisation of interfaces across the industry.'

More information on the GVRA is available from the official website, and on the OVRSI from the Khronos Group's official press release.

18 Comments

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Guinevere 8th December 2016, 12:04 Quote
Yay! Sure will be nice to have a standard VR API:

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/standards.png
Dave Lister 8th December 2016, 13:27 Quote
Unless they get prices down, it'll all be in vein.
Gareth Halfacree 8th December 2016, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Unless they get prices down, it'll all be in vein.
Vain. It's a little unfair to lump some of 'em in with others, too: The Samsung Gear VR is pretty cheap, 'cos it's smartphone-based, as is Google's Daydream. Microsoft's talking about affordable headsets, too, although it's not a member of either group. Acer-Starbreeze, meanwhile, is concentrating on headsets that cost A HOJILLION POUNDS for the arcade operator, and in doing so making HTC and Oculus look cheap.
edzieba 8th December 2016, 15:16 Quote
HTC and Oculus also look cheap compared to every past PC HMD, even the **** ones. Have fun with your 640x480 composite-video connected HMD, with a 15° field of view, interlaced updating, smeary TN panels, and no head tracking whatsoever, and pay $1000 for the privilege!
If you wanted an actually decent HMD, you were in the medium-sized-car pricing territory of industry and government purchasing, and even the highest-of-the-high-end were not up the the standards of the Rift or Vive.
Gareth Halfacree 8th December 2016, 15:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
HTC and Oculus also look cheap compared to every past PC HMD, even the **** ones.
Isn't that just the march of technology? My first laptop had a four-line monochrome LCD...
Dave Lister 8th December 2016, 18:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Unless they get prices down, it'll all be in vein.
Vain.

I do apologise for my atrocious use of the english language, I didn't even know there were different spellings for the word, english is my first language and it would seem i'm getting worse at it.

Moving on, and being pessimistic, it seems to me the prices for the Vive and Occulus are purely down to greed. The whole VR thing reignited with a kickstarter campaign, this I understand was for the idea to undergo R&D and finally release to the public.
It would seem the now reacquired Occulus has taken all the kickstarter money and used it, all the while knocking out development kits for around £300-£400. Then - Research done, bend over the public for the same hardware as DK2 but charge 3 times more.
Valve on the other hand just seem to want the public to pay for every last cent of R&D plus costs once the hype had been built up by Occulus.
PSVR and Google cardboard etc I have not followed much as they just sound like kids toys in comparison. Although the PSVR is sounding better with every new hack that appears for it.
Gareth Halfacree 8th December 2016, 19:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
I do apologise for my atrocious use of the english language, I didn't even know there were different spellings for the word, english is my first language and it would seem i'm getting worse at it.

Nae worries - it's a common error! A vein is the thing what carries blood around your body or a run of a ore in a rock formation; vain means self-obsessed and also producing no useful result, 'cos we love to have multiple meanings for the same word in English. Thus we have "tried in vain" but "in the same vein".

I'll tell you a better one I saw the other day: "square quotes" instead of "scare quotes."
mi1ez 8th December 2016, 22:16 Quote
Yay! 2 different standards!
edzieba 9th December 2016, 05:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
HTC and Oculus also look cheap compared to every past PC HMD, even the **** ones.
Isn't that just the march of technology? My first laptop had a four-line monochrome LCD...
The jump was significant and rapid. In the space of 3 years from 2013, we went from pretty much the absolute best HMD you could buy as a non-industrial body being a Sony HMZ-3 with a separate outboard tracker glued to it (for a 45° FoV for £1300, PLUS the price of a tracking system) to the DK1 which upped the FoV to 90° for a quarter of the price, to the Rift CV1 and Vive which offer a massive improvement in quality and functionality and still cost less (half if you consider that both include a tracking solution). In the same time (3 years) prior to that, development was from the HMZ-T1 to the HMZ-T3, which had nearly identical form-factors and specs.
Wwhat 9th December 2016, 21:13 Quote
@Dave Lister

You were right the first time, it's vein.
Source oxford dictionary:

4 a distinctive quality, style, or tendency: he closes his article in a humorous vein.

And @Gareth Halfacree The daydream thing evolves around a number of higher spec definitions and it means the cheapest phones are not compatible, phones have to have a minimum refresh rate and speed and high speed precise tracking. And of course the Google Pixel is pretty upper end in price.
Gareth Halfacree 9th December 2016, 21:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwhat
You were right the first time, it's vein.
Source oxford dictionary:
4 a distinctive quality, style, or tendency: he closes his article in a humorous vein.
No, he wasn't, as your dictionary citation proves. To say someone is doing something to no good effect or without an achievable goal is to say they are trying in vain, not vein.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwhat

And @Gareth Halfacree The daydream thing evolves around a number of higher spec definitions and it means the cheapest phones are not compatible, phones have to have a minimum refresh rate and speed and high speed precise tracking. And of course the Google Pixel is pretty upper end in price.
Whereas, of course, a £700 Oculus Rift or HTC Vive can be used entirely standalone. Oh, what's that? It can't? It needs a PC? Well, surely it works perfectly with the cheapest, lowest-end PC imaginable right? Oh, it doesn't? You'd need to spend at least £500 or more on the PC? Well, then, my point, I believe.
Wwhat 10th December 2016, 01:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
No, he wasn't..

You are right of course. This time :)

Still, vein isn't just a conduit for blood, it's a word that has wider use. At least I assume we can agree I'm right on this.
Gareth Halfacree 10th December 2016, 06:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwhat
You are right of course. This time :)
Still, vein isn't just a conduit for blood, it's a word that has wider use. At least I assume we can agree I'm right on this.
I listed two definitions of vein in my follow-up post, only one of which was as a conduit for blood. The other, incidentally, is the definition used in your dictionary extract: saying something is "in the same vein" or "in a humourous vein" or what have you draws its etymology from veins of ore - you could find two miners working the same vein. The final literal definition of vein is a watercourse, but that wasn't included in my post as it wasn't relevant.
Stanley Tweedle 10th December 2016, 11:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Unless they get prices down, it'll all be in vein.

Yawn.
Stanley Tweedle 10th December 2016, 11:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
The jump was significant and rapid. In the space of 3 years from 2013, we went from pretty much the absolute best HMD you could buy as a non-industrial body being a Sony HMZ-3 with a separate outboard tracker glued to it (for a 45° FoV for £1300, PLUS the price of a tracking system) to the DK1 which upped the FoV to 90° for a quarter of the price, to the Rift CV1 and Vive which offer a massive improvement in quality and functionality and still cost less (half if you consider that both include a tracking solution). In the same time (3 years) prior to that, development was from the HMZ-T1 to the HMZ-T3, which had nearly identical form-factors and specs.

Yes, finally someone who understands the history of VR and the downward trend of cost versus rising trend of specification/performance.

Thus you know better than to bleet on about doom and gloom if prices don't fall. Prices have been falling steadily and current consumer VR represents a massive drop in price compared to previous.
edzieba 10th December 2016, 23:42 Quote
I think the current dramatic jump down in price and up in quality will not be repeated.
HMD technology has caught up with the smartphone technology it was drawing it's low-level R&D from (the industry that drove high-DPI OLED panels and compact cheap MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes from concept to product), so further development will need to be self-funded by the VR industry, which while holding huge promise is numerically tiny. While Oculus (through Facebook), Microsoft, and Sony have large cash reserves to fund development, the cost of dramatic advances is astronomical.
Instead, we will likely see more incremental advances: higher resolution and refresh-rate display panels, lighter optics with wider fields of view, possibly a switch from optical LoS tracking to magnetic or RF to eliminate occlusion issues (and ease tracking of arbitrary objects), eye-tracking (likely for merely input and optical-compensation to start with, with foveated rendering coming later with improved eye tracking), and possibly some basic planar refocussing. Display panels in particular will likely be reliant on the smartphone industry to drive low-level technology development for the next 5-10 years.
rollo 11th December 2016, 00:13 Quote
Smartphone tech cannot go alot higher on resolution. 1440p on a phone is already pointless. 4k even more so.

Battery tech is holding back Smartphone Screen Resolution.

With the market hitting saturation you wonder how much Apple / Samsung would be willing to chuck at high resolution displays (4k) when the battery tech is far from ready for it. Everyone else is loosing money or breaking even.

VR needs its own market to be big enough to encourage development. Relying on others will not work. Even the best GPU on the market is techically bearly enough.

If Oculus or Vive brought out a 1440 or 4k display no gpu could hope to drive the required fps. We are probably 5 years from mainstream 4k gpus. ( something sub £200)
edzieba 11th December 2016, 10:15 Quote
The impact from screen resolution on power draw is two seperate issues:

- Display issues. This is mainly a factor with LCD displays, where higher pixel pitches without reduced transistor pitches means overall transitivity is reduced, requiring brighter backlights (and thus more power). This effect is reduced with OLEDs, as being active emitters you have very close to the same power draw per unit area with one emitter that takes up 50% of the panel surface area, or 4 emitters that each take up 12.5% of the panel area, etc.

- GPU issues. This can be mittigated in 'normal mode' by reducing the effective rendering resolution when it is not required, as Sony's 4K phone does.

This is also not a "suddenly we've hit UHD and batteries are no good!" problem, this is something that has always been an issue. The major continued power drain increase over time has not been the display, or the GPU, but simply that we require smartphones to continually do a lot more work.

Quote:
If Oculus or Vive brought out a 1440 or 4k display no gpu could hope to drive the required fps.
It's sad to see this still trotted out when everyone should know better.
Your PC can and will quite happily render at 8k and beyond if you tell it to (e.g. 1080p at DSR 4x). You won't be able to do it in a recent game with Super Ultra Mega Visually Indistinguishable From High We Only Put This In For Epeen Comparison mode, but the majority of those screen-space effects do not work in VR anyway (due to the need for true orthostereo). For example, here is Doom 4 in GPU-punishing 'Ultra Nightmare' quality mode (yes, they actually call it that), and in 'low' quality mode. Totally unplayable, looks like garbage, etc.
As with the issue of phone power draw, as soon as a faster GPU is released, games will up their graphical bling to take advantage of that, and the mythical '4k capable GPU' remains continually out of reach.
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