Musings on the Future of Web3D

Dateline: 1/5/00

GEE WHIZ! We all survived the big Y2K rollover. Shocking hmmmmm (yawn). I promise not to mention Y2K ever again (unless of course it does strike us in the future). Since it is the start of a millennium (my first one) it does seem like an appropriate time for some predictions, some look at where we've been and all that jazz.

The Web3D Consortium

The keepers of the VRML are, of course, the Web3D Consortium. According to a poll which ran a couple of months ago lots of people don't think X3D is the right path. Of course keep in mind this is definitely not a scientifically valid poll. Poll
Do you think X3D is on the right track as the next generation VRML?

Yes (21)33%
No (43)67%

64 Total Votes
Click Here to create your own FREE Poll Now!

There are literally several dozen Web3D technologies. I count 38, at the time of this writing, in my Web3D Technologies Comparison page. Not all are proprietary and some are active participants in the X3D process. So we can guesstimate 30 or so odd solutions. This means that proprietary 3D solutions are alive and well. So what's the issue? Who cares if a 3D solution is proprietary or standard? These are not trivially answered questions. Of course open standard solutions are more equitable and level the playing field for all businesses. Content creators are not beholden to a single vendor when using a standard 3D solution and the content will likely function on many types of interoperable systems. However, proprietary solutions using display technology under the control of a single corporate entity generally don't have conformance issues. Content creators can be pretty much assured that their content will look and behave the same on all supported platforms (if there is more than one supported platform).

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