Mozilla has revealed it is shutting down its virtual reality (VR) browser, Firefox Reality, after four years.
Launched in 2018 as “an open source browser that respects your privacy”, Firefox Reality had been available for Oculus, Vive and HoloLens headsets, offering a mixture of consumer-based and business-focused VR apps and experiences.
The browser allowed users to get onto the internet using a VR headset, with tasks such as typing URLs, performing searches and browsing both the 2D and 3D internet carried out with VR hand controllers instead of a mouse.
Firefox Reality closure
However it seems that the browser didn't quite have the impact Mozilla had hoped for, and will be withdrawn from service.
“Mozilla’s mission is to make sure the internet remains open and accessible to all,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“We’ve been at the forefront of developing new technologies, like WebVR and WebAR, and in some instances, Mozilla continues to remain the host and incubator of those new technologies, as with Hubs. With other technologies, we find communities and organizations where our projects can continue to grow and contribute to the web like WebAssembly, Rust and Servo.”
The technology behind the browser will still live on, however, with the platform being handed over to Igalia, which will use the Firefox Reality source code to build its own browser, Wolvic.
“On mobile or desktop, the web is woven into everything. It’s how we communicate, get information, entertain ourselves, and so much more. In the last few years, XR has really matured. The increase of devices shipping with an immersive OS is incredible. As such, now is an especially critical time to ensure that we establish the web on them in a healthy way,” said Brian Kardell, Developer Advocate at Igalia.
“The Firefox Reality project was created with similar aims, to give users some choice and ensure that open and unlimited access to the web remains strong on these devices. These ideas are core to what we do at Igalia, so we’re thrilled to be able to carry the torch forward in leveraging that work to create a new browser, Wolvic. Together, we will help to ensure that the web ecosystem remains healthy.”
Firefox Reality will be removed from stores in the coming weeks, with Wolvic available in its place.
“Since its launch, Firefox Reality offered users a unique browser in the mixed reality space,” Mozilla added. “It was the first cross-platform browser built by a trusted company, Mozilla, and quickly adopted by companies for use in their hardware devices.”