The VR Lobbyists Have Arrived

Several tech giants from Silicon Valley and abroad banded together Wednesday to create an industry association for advancing virtual reality.

The Global Virtual Reality Association—which includes Google, HTC, Facebook's Oculus, Samsung, and Sony, among other companies—said in a news release that it will "promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally."

Although that description makes virtual reality sound vaguely dangerous, the only real danger to the companies involved is that it will not gain widespread acceptance fast enough to be profitable. At an industry conference this week in San Francisco, analysts predicted that the general public will eventually use VR headsets for more than just gaming. But reaching hundreds of millions of users won't happen until 2020 or later.

The Global VR Association said it plans to devote resources to lobbying, serving as a resource for policymakers in addition to industry players and consumers. Much of the potential VR advocates see in the technology is for standards-driven industries like healthcare and manufacturing; getting governments to write VR into those standards could drive adoption.

The association will also likely focus on cleaning up the scattered and incompatible formats that litter any new technology in the early years of its adoption. Many accessories and software made for one headset, like the HTC Vive, aren't compatible with others, like the Oculus Rift.

But even as the industry bands together, its major players are also pursuing their own separate initiatives. HTC on Wednesday became the latest VR headset maker to have its own content creation studio, which will initially develop games only for the HTC Vive. Oculus and Samsung have similar efforts.

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