The Economist had a small article about the need for standards. See here.
What happened on the internet, of course, was that the web came along and provided common, open standards for both client and server software, doing away with proprietary online services and bringing together previously separate communities as CompuServe, AOL and the rest adopted the web's open standards. Now a firm called Multiverse Network hopes to do the same for MMOs. It has created MMO client and server software based on open standards, and a way to move between virtual worlds built on its platform, just like following a link from one web page to another. And it has made its software available for free download by anyone who wants to build and host a virtual world.Personally I LOVE THIS TOPIC. The Metaverse standards will allow this entire industry to develop. see Yesha's Five Dimensions of Standards.