Microsoft has shifted the Mixed Reality Toolkit 3 (MRTK3) project to its own independent organization within GitHub. This change marks a significant step in Microsoft’s commitment to openness and collaboration in the mixed reality ecosystem.
A New Path for MRTK3
MRTK3, initially created by Microsoft to be cross-platform and open-source, has grown beyond its original scope, supporting not only HoloLens 2 but also a broader range of platforms. To foster greater third-party collaboration, Microsoft has taken the decision to recognize MRTK as an independent entity, thereby removing constraints that limited developers’ abilities to innovate and contribute.
The transition of MRTK3 into its own independent organization within GitHub offers the program freedom to explore and expand. It enables Microsoft to augment investments and set up a steering committee with other major industry stakeholders. Importantly, Microsoft’s investments in MRTK3 remain undiminished.
Steering Committee: Inclusion of Magic Leap and Qualcomm Technologies
A significant announcement accompanying the transition is the inclusion of Magic Leap, Inc., and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., on the steering committee. These organizations have been vital contributors to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) initiatives.
Magic Leap has been an active user of MRTK UI frameworks and input systems for their AR applications. Meanwhile, Qualcomm Technologies has provided essential support for MRTK3, including the System-on-Chip platform used in HoloLens 2.
The inclusion of these two industry giants on the MRTK3 steering committee signifies a broadening and deepening of collaboration and innovation in the mixed reality field.
Upcoming General Availability
The anticipation for MRTK3 is set to culminate with its General Availability in Q3 of 2023, expected in the second week of September. This release is aligned with previous announcements and eagerly awaited by developers across the globe.
Background: A Rich Legacy of Innovation
MRTK3 represents the third generation of Microsoft’s open-source project that has revolutionized mixed reality development in Unity. With a focus on faster performance, a smaller memory footprint, and a modern user interface, MRTK3 has built upon the OpenXR industry standard, Unity’s XR Management System, and XR Interaction Toolkit.
Additionally, Microsoft has been actively collaborating with Azure Communication Services (ACS) and other partners, introducing new tools like ACS Calling SDK for Unity and enhancing the developer experience for HoloLens 2 applications.
Conclusion: A Promising Horizon for Mixed Reality
The shift of MRTK3 into an independent organization within GitHub is a momentous step for Microsoft and the mixed reality industry. By breaking free from previous constraints, MRTK3 is poised to embrace new horizons, welcoming broader collaboration and innovation. The joining of Magic Leap and Qualcomm Technologies to the steering committee further solidifies the growing ecosystem, creating opportunities for richer, immersive experiences across platforms.
With General Availability around the corner, MRTK3’s future looks bright, reflecting Microsoft’s commitment to empowering developers and advancing mixed reality technology.