They will contribute their efforts to the development of the GL Transmission Format (glTF) open project. This will bring the glTF to Windows as part of the Creators update in 2017.
The glTF is a runtime asset delivery format for Graphics Library (GL) APIs like OpenGL, OpenGL ES, WebGL. It has been brought into existence to bridge the gap between 3D content creation tools and modern GL applications. It can be understood as the JPEG of 3D.
A significant motivation to promote 3D content and develop formats comes from its latest Paint 3D offering. Microsoft thinks that glTF can act as a common, open, interoperable medium to describe, edit, and share 3D assets between different applications.
Microsoft has been thinking a lot about open source in the recent years and glTF is no different. The company will be working on the glTF support using the open source BabylonJS framework. The Redmond says that PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials is one of the hot topics in the public forums and they are interested in joining discussions for such topics.
“PBR materials are a flexible way for 3D content creators to specify the rendering characteristics of their surfaces. Industry-standard implementations can ensure that any PBR content will look consistent irrespective of the scene lighting and environment.”
The company notes that the cross-platform, cross-application nature of things like PBR will make glTF omnipresent. Oculus, Google, Nvidia, Adobe, MPEG, etc. are among the other names who have stated support for the glTF format.