Formerly called the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA), today the XR Association (XRA) has announced that Microsoft has joined as a member company alongside founding members HTC Vive, Sony, Google, Facebook, and Samsung.
Microsoft’s XRA membership means that Heidi Holman, Microsoft’s Assistant General Counsel will represent the company on XRA’s Board of Directors. Holman has spent 22 years at Microsoft, supporting the company’s augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) business interests. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with our industry peers to support the XRA’s mission of promoting the safe and responsible development and adoption of XR technology globally,” said Holman in a statement.
“We are thrilled to welcome Microsoft to XRA,” said Elizabeth Hyman, CEO of the XR Association. “This is a significant milestone that reflects the growth of the XR industry, which encompasses augmented reality, mixed reality, and future technologies yet to be developed in the rapidly-evolving XR space. Microsoft’s advanced mixed reality offerings, including its groundbreaking HoloLens headset, and its expertise in this arena, strengthen the XRA’s ability to provide a unified voice for the XR industry.”
Microsoft’s core interest in the XR space generally focuses on AR and MR technology, mainly due to 2016s HoloLens and then HoloLens 2 which was revealed earlier this year, both of which are aimed at business use. On the consumer side Microsoft will be releasing AR title Minecraft Earth into closed beta this summer, initially for iOS devices followed by Android.
On the virtual reality (VR) side Microsoft has been slightly more hesitant, not releasing any hardware directly, instead, partnering with companies like HP, Acer, Asus, Samsung and Dell to create Windows Mixed Reality headsets. These haven’t enjoyed the same popularity as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which could be why HP and others have gone down the enterprise route as well with the HP Reverb.
There’s still plenty of growth in the industry as a whole, and Microsoft has joined the XRA as it looks to expand its footprint. As such, Microsoft will be able to support the association’s policy, advocacy, and government affairs work. VRFocus will continue its coverage of the XRA, reporting back with further udates.