Mozilla is shutting down its virtual and augmented reality web browser Firefox Reality and passing the baton to an outside team that plans to relaunch it under a new name. Free software consultancy Igalia is developing a browser that uses the source code underlying Firefox Reality, with the aim of launching a similar VR/AR browser called Wolvic next week. Meanwhile, Mozilla will remove Firefox Reality from the app stores in the coming weeks.
In a blog post, Mozilla summarized the change as a natural evolution for Firefox Reality, which launched in 2018. “We have been at the forefront of developing new technologies,” the organization said, citing the WebVR and WebAR standards. “In some cases, Mozilla continues to host and incubate those new technologies… With other technologies, we find communities and organizations where our projects can continue to grow and contribute to the web.” Igalia has previously contributed to the open source projects WebKit and Chromium.
Firefox Reality is currently available on the Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest) headset, HTC’s Viveport platform and the Pico standalone VR headset, as well as Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality headset. In addition to letting users browse traditional web pages in headsets, it’s a portal to full-fledged web-based VR and AR experiences — a platform that’s often overlooked compared to native headset apps, but offers a more open alternative. for curated app stores. (Meta also offers its own built-in web browser on the Quest.) As antitrust watchdogs scrutinize Meta’s VR ambitions and companies in the tech industry invest in AR, Wolvic could bolster the viability of web-based mixed reality — assuming it can remains active.