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As Microsoft, Meta, and other tech-heavyweights working to build their own
metaverse platforms have agreed to form a group to try and make their
companies’ nascent digital worlds compatible with each other, Apple Inc’s
glaring absence from the group raises questions.

The Silicon Valley and other leading tech giants are participants in the
Metaverse Standard Forum, a newly formed group of companies, including
chip makers, gaming companies, and established standard-setting bodies like
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These companies want to work together
to foster the development of industry standards to help them achieve
industry-wide cooperation.

However, Apple is conspicuously missing from the 36 participants announced
on Tuesday, June 21. Analysts expect the iPhone maker to be a significant
player in the metaverse race once it announces its own mixed reality headset
within two years.

Gaming companies like Niantic and Roblox and emerging crypto-based
metaverse platforms like Decentraland and Sandbox were also not included in
the list of participants. However, Neil Trevet, Nvidia’s executive and
chairperson of the Metaverse Standard Forum, said any company could join
the forum, including crypto-based participants.

Apple to Rival Meta

Although Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge its plan for a mixed reality
headset, it reportedly gave its board a sneak peek of the product. However,
the company is yet to comment on the new metaverse forum.
Apple’s plan to introduce such a device would make it Meta’s direct
competitor. Meta, previously known as Facebook, has staked its future on the
metaverse’s growth and has invested heavily in hardware to realize its vision
of an interconnected virtual world. It announced plans to launch a mixed
reality headset code known as “Cambria” this year.

Apple participated in creating web standards like HTML5. For 3D content, the
Cupertino-based giant tech partnered with Pixar for the “USDZ” file format
and Adobe to ensure it supported the format. 
The Metaverse Standards Forum’s participants will participate in projects
testing or adopting proposed metaverse standards. The companies will also
work to develop platform deployment guidelines and terminologies.
According to Trevet, the forum aims to facilitate communications between
participating organizations and companies to bring about “real-world
interoperability” in the metaverse. However, the forum’s chairperson did not
address how Apple’s absence would prevent participating companies from
achieving their goal.

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