In the recent news, Mozilla has announced that it is shutting down its Firefox Reality VR web browser — the four-year-old browser created for use in virtual reality environments. The technology had enabled users to access the Firefox Reality browser from within their VR headset, doing things like visiting URLs, conducting searches, and browsing both the 2D and 3D internet using your VR hand controllers, instead of a mouse.
Mozilla to Shut Down its VR Web Browser Firefox Reality
The VR web browser, Firefox Reality was first rolled out in fall 2018 and has been available on Viveport, Oculus, Pico, and HoloLens platforms through their various app stores. While qualified for surfing the 2D web, the expectation was that users would broadly use the new Firefox Reality to browse and interact with the web’s 3D content, like 360-degree panoramic images and videos, 3D models, and WebVR games, for instance.
Mozilla is now directing users who still want to utilize a VR web browser to Igalia’s upcoming open-source browser, Wolvic, which is based on Firefox Reality’s source code. This VR web browser will be available for download beginning next week, so users won’t have to go without it — they’ll just have to make the switch.
XR Operating Systems Require Web Browsers for Complete Experience
Igalia touts its commitment to the XR space — XR being the umbrella term that encircles both virtual reality and augmented reality and similar technologies. “We at Igalia believe the Web is important to the XR space in a large number of ways. XR systems which provide an immersive OS need web browsers to be part of that,” the announcement on the Igalia website states.
“Entering a ‘reality’ without access to everything that already exists on the Web would be pretty terrible. Additionally, WebXR opens new avenues to navigate, share, and experience information driven from within the browser itself. Reimagining a browser for an immersive OS is new ground, and that newness means browser choice is currently limited,” it says.