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Nintendo joins open standards alliance, Khronos Group


Bear with me here, because things are about to get a bit technical. Nintendo has recently joined Khronos Group, a non-profit company that focuses on the “creation of royalty-free open standards for parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices.” Whew. That’s a mouthful. So what does that mean?

It means Nintendo is finally joining a handful of other companies that make sure their devices and hardware are capable of using standardized APIs that have been established in the industry, rather than focusing on proprietary standards. It means less work for Nintendo when it comes to supporting other platforms, and less work for third-party developers who can now use open standards, rather than having to develop their own for specific systems.

Nintendo has joined this group at the contributor level, which has some interesting applications. Here’s a quick breakdown of the various levels featured within Khronos Group.

  • Implementers – may create and deliver a product using the publicly released specifications, but cannot use the trademarks.
  • Adopters – complete the conformance testing procedures and sign a royalty-free license to use the trademarks on their products.
  • Academic Contributors – have full API working group participation but no voting rights.
  • Contributors – have full API working group participation and voting rights, and generous marketing benefits.
  • Promoters – act as the “Board of Directors” to set the direction of the Group, with final specification ratification voting rights.

According to the information at hand, Nintendo has joined the group at the Contributor level, which means they have full access to the APIs developed by the group. This could become very relevant for Nintendo’s next console and while it seems like a jumble of unrelated tech news, it could be an interesting clue about the direction Nintendo will be taking in the next few years.

One of the things both critics and gamers alike have always disparaged about Nintendo is the fact that the company doesn’t seem to follow industry trends. Perhaps this is the first step toward that goal.

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