In what Joystiq calls “a Justice League for [Virtual Reality],” a variety of companies spanning from gaming giant Electronic Arts to printer manufacturer Epson have joined forces to form the Immersive Technology Alliance, a non-profit consortium with a mandate “to effectively meet the needs of the newly established Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), stereoscopic 3D and gesture industries” and “foster a vibrant and diverse industry that content makers can support on a wide scale” according to a press release.
The ITA is composed of a wide spectrum of names. Aside from the afore-mentioned companies, another prominent name in the roster is Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Oculus VR’s personnel consists of big names in the technology industry, such as Doom creator and co-founder of id Software John Carmack and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen. Other members of the ITA include HDMI, Harvard University, Panasonic, and Digital Extremes.
President and Co-Founder Jeri Ellsworth of Technical Illusions, one of the ITA’s members, had this to say: “In this rapidly expanding industry of augmented and virtual reality displays, and other immersive technologies, great communication and collaboration among technology leaders is valuable. We’re proud to participate in The ITA as a founding member, and contribute our thought leadership to the group. We are revolutionizing the way people interact with and display their digital graphics, and we look forward to working with the alliance to bring more awareness to immersive products like castAR.” castAR is Technical Illusions’ own virtual reality system that displays 3D projections to the viewer.
One name conspicuously missing from the roster is Sony, which is planning to announce its own virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 at the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, according to Edge-Online. Sony’s VR device is expected to be the primary competitor to the hugely anticipated Oculus Rift, which debuted successfully on Kickstarter in 2012, raising $400,000 on its first day and is expected to be released commercially sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.
The ITA will officially launch at the GDC on March 18 and will be hosting a mixer on March 20. Its presence, as well as Sony’s VR plans, is sure to bring to the forefront the introduction of virtual reality into gaming alongside 3D gaming. The ITA itself was originally known as The Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance when it was first founded in 2009.