Virtual reality has made its entrance into the 21st century as a force to be reckoned with, showcasing the possibilities for immersive engagements within alternative realities. Though VR has struggled for the past couple of decades to meet our expectations, new players in the market like Oculus Rift have acted as a catalyst, inspiring the re-emergence of interest in this type of technology. Firefox’s recent announcement of its plans to develop a browser with VR capabilities highlights how lucrative the VR ecosystem has become and foreshadows the potential of regular Internet browser accessing an immersive, high-quality experience online in the not so distant future. .
The Changing Landscape of Virtual Reality
The world of VR has changed rapidly in the past few years due to the work of pioneering visionaries like Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus. When his VR headset debuted in 2012 on Kickstarter, few suspected that the Oculus Rift would reach extraordinary heights of success within the tech sphere by attracting the eyes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg who purchased the gaming startup company for an estimated $2 billion.
Not surprisingly, other companies have started their own VR ventures, highlighting their determination to make a mark within the VR ecosystem. This includes the likes of Sony with its Project Morpheus headsets that will be compatible with the PlayStation and Samsung headsets which rumours suggest will offer a VR experience for mobile users. Clearly, virtual reality is moving towards new and enchanting possibilities that could become available much earlier than expected.
The VR Web Browser Experience
Though many of the developments in VR technology relate to the development of hardware made especially for gamers, Firefox is stepping into the game by offering a different kind of experience not limited to game enthusiasms. By developing VR capabilities for its browsers, Firefox will diversify the Internet experience by offering an immersive experience when users connect VR hardware to their PCs. This could radically change the way PC users interact with the Internet. When combined with the efforts of Facebook, Oculus and others, the possibilities seem to be truly exponential.
In addition to creating a platform that enables more immersive and interactive gaming online, the VR-enabled browser could also create a dynamic platform to enhance the experience of users seeking to access both entertainment and productivity. This could transform the way one participates in social media and provide new experience related to e-commerce and educational tools online.
Though details regarding Firefox’s new initiative are limited, Mozilla developer Vladimir Vukićević highlighted that VR browsers could become a metaverse of the future -- an advanced cyber world which integrates both VR and Internet, enabling a 3D world of enhanced virtual spaces instead of the flat display of text, images and icons which we now experience. Vukićević seemed confident that Firefox along with independent developers will be able to offer users an experience worth getting excited about. However, he was careful to point out that Firefox’s trek into the world of VR is only in the early stages.
When will VR browsers become Available?
Mozilla isn’t the only company intent on creating web browsers that are compatible with the latest technologies. Brandon Jones, a programmer at Google, also highlighted that efforts are being made to facilitate web-based VR functionality for Chrome.
Though interest in the VR browser initiative is clearly on the rise, experts like Jones make is clear that those who are excited about this new realm in technology should not create unrealistic expectations. “There’s a long ways to go before we can consider shipping anything,” said Jones. This suggests that Google’s WebVR goals are not expected to reach fruition anytime soon. As it pertains to Firefox, this may be the case for them as well.
Regardless of the timeframe, one thing is clear: companies like Mozilla Firefox are intent on creating a web-based platform which facilitates virtual reality on the Internet. If such plans become a reality, these VR browsers will radically change the way we use web on our PCs. Since significant research and interest within the world of technology is now centered on VR, tech enthusiasts and regular web browsers alike can have much to look forward to in upcoming years.
About the Author: Tricia Allen is an avid blogger who's written extensively about technology, TV programming and the telecommunications industry. She is a regular contributor to Blog.BuyATT.com.