A New VR Experience Within the Web

mozilla vr

VR’s rate of adoption has seen a slow but steady increase, as prices for high end headsets such as the Vive and Rift continue to fall and newer generations of graphics cards continue to bring the high end VR benchmark to a more economical product skew, hardware accessibility is at an all time high.

VR hardware has already begun to fracture the mediums growing user base, with many Steam games support only the Vive, mobile VR such as Google’s Cardboard and Samsung’s GearVR lack interoperability and PSVR remains a strictly Sony experience. However, as with most first world problems, the internet is here to fix everything.

An Unified Internet of Virtual Content

A Los Angeles based VR focused content distribution platform, by the name of WITHIN, has been working with Mozilla to refine the communities WebVR API in order to bring the full capability of VR application to any device.

The site’s library currently boasts a wide variety of content for audiences to feast their eyes on including interactive experiences based on TV shows such as Mr. Robot, The Walking Dead, Saturday Night Live, musical presentations from U2 and Cuba, as well as the Obama White House documentary, The People’s House.

WITHIN’s recent release of a WebVR compatible version of their site into the wild, allows users to access high production value VR videos through the majority of modern web browser. Unfortunately, as WebVR is still a fairly new interface, support tends to vary based on OS and browser, with Apple’s Safari being one of the last browser to support the API.

Mozilla Community Leads the Charge

For a complete rundown of device and OS compatibility, webvr.rocks has compiled a handy chart to give prospective users a brief overview on what you’ll need to get things running on main release platforms. Mozilla has also released a comprehensive compatibility chart that includes the developer and nightly builds of browser, that revealing that iOS compatibility via the use of the polyfill library.

Apple’s acquisition of VRvana in November 2017, alongside it’s continued push for VR development within its Metal 2 graphics API, suggest that the companies VR devisons have a clear focus elsewhere and may continue to neglect native WebVR support for Safari. In the meantime, die hard Apple fans can take solace in the efforts of both Google and Mozilla in bringing MacOS support to their respective browsers.

WebVR marks an important step forward for developers and content producers in providing a frictionless web based experience that hopes to remove the hurdles of platform specific distribution. By integrating the software as part of the web browser, the device agnostic Javascript based library presents the very real opportunity to unify the VR platform in a compromise free manner, allowing for scalable resolution, variance in controller support and hardware flexibility.