Nintendo has joined the Khronos Group, a non-profit company that champions open standards for computing. They join a number of other high-profile members of the Khronos Group, including Microsoft, Sony, EA, Valve, Google, Apple and IBM.
The group focuses its efforts on the "creation of royalty-free open standards for parallel computing, graphics and dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices." What this essentially means is that future Nintendo devices should be easier for third parties to develop for thanks to standardised APIs.
Nintendo will also be able to more easily develop games for other platforms, which will no doubt impact their well-publicized ambitions in the mobile gaming industry. News of Nintendo joining the group arose thanks to a new listing on the Khronos website (via Wii U Daily).
The Japanese firm has joined as a contributing member, meaning Nintendo's participation in the group is as follows.
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.
Member List - View a current, text list of Khronos members.
Nintendo has needed to better accommodate third party developers since the mid-90s, when they began to flock away from the Super Nintendo and toward Sony's PlayStation. Comparatively weaker third party support has been a key factor in the commercial failings of the GameCube and more recently the Wii U.
This shows a big step forward for Nintendo that could be crucial to the potential success of their next device, the NX – for which the company will be announcing more information at some point in 2016.