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Mozilla Lays Out Plans for Web-Based Social Virtual Reality

Browser maker Mozilla is making a push to bring social virtual reality (VR) to the web: The non-profit has formed a dedicated team working on technologies to power web-based social VR and mixed reality experiences, it announced in a blog post Monday.

“Unlike traditional online communication tools like text, voice, and video, the promise of Mixed Reality is that you can be present with other people, much like real life, and engage with them in a more interactive way,” wrote Greg Fodor, Mozilla’s social mixed reality engineering manager. “You can make eye contact, nod your head, high five, dance, and even play catch with anyone around the world, regardless of where you are!”

Fodor joined Mozilla in September. He previously co-founded the social VR startup AltspaceVR, which recently sold itself to Microsoft after running out of funding earlier this summer. And while many members of the AltspaceVR team have since begin to work on experiences for Microsoft’s VR and AR hardware, Fodor actually brought a handful of colleagues with him to Mozilla to form its social mixed reality team.

Much of the team’s work will be dedicated to making sure that social VR tech can run across headsets and other devices, even if they’re made by competing manufacturers. “We believe that the web is the platform that will provide the best user experience for Mixed Reality-based communication,” wrote Fodor. “Meeting with others around the world in Mixed Reality should be as easy as sharing a link, and creating a virtual space to spend time in should be as easy as building your first website.”

The idea to have developers build VR experiences for the web that can then run on any headset, as well as on mobile devices or desktop PCs, has been gaining traction and is getting support from a variety of companies. Just last week, Facebook and Sony Pictures together released a 360-degree VR experience for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” that runs both in VR headsets as well as in the Facebook news feed.

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