Mozilla has released a new version of its Firefox browser that features WebVR support.
The concept of WebVR was first put together in 2014 by a group of Mozilla developers. The idea was to allow web users to explore virtual spaces and make it easier to create VR experiences that work across a range of devices.
The browser’s release calendar update states that: “WebVR is the big platform feature shipping in Firefox 55. Firefox users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift can experience VR content on the Web.”
Despite Mozilla being the conceptual birthplace of WebVR, the company was beaten by Google’s 2017 Chrome browser, which featured WebVR support. Then, April saw Microsoft adding WebVR support to its Edge browser.
It should of course be noted that Google and Microsoft actually sell VR/AR hardware and devices, whereas Mozilla do not.
The new Firefox browser is an important part of Mozilla’s attempt to reply to the growing dominance of Chrome in recent years. The fight back is all building to the launch of Firefox 57 on 14 November 2017.
In principle, WebVR makes it easier to build VR experiences that can translate to a variety of different devices, essentially meaning that developers don’t have to re-create their work for each device.
However, not all VR headsets currently support WebVR.
In general, the company is optimistic about the VR market. In a recent interview, chief executive Chris Beard said: "VR will beget AR pretty quickly as a mass-market opportunity. Browsers play a very meaningful role."