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Firefox Maker Mozilla Starts Testing Social VR Hubs

Firefox maker Mozilla wants to bring social virtual reality to the browser: The company unveiled a test version of a new social VR platform called Hubs Thursday, which allows users to chat with each other in virtual reality, even if they use otherwise incompatible VR headsets.

“Because we are using web standards (WebVR and eventually WebXR) to deliver this content, we are able to support every single Mixed Reality headset,” wrote Mozilla chief R&D officer Sean White Thursday. “You can enjoy this experience with advanced hardware such as an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, or you can use alternatives such as a Daydream or cardboard viewer.”

Hubs has been developed by Mozilla’s social VR team, which includes a few key former employees of AltspaceVR, the social VR company that was snapped up by Microsoft last year. And it’s not the only VR project coming it out Mozilla. The browser maker announced a dedicated browser for AR and VR devices dubbed Firefox Reality earlier this month.

But while Firefox Reality will be limited to a handful of headsets at launch, Hubs can already be tried with numerous devices today. In fact, users don’t even need to have a VR device to join in. They can also access Hubs with a desktop browser, or a mobile device, to launch their own chat rooms or join existing rooms.

“In the coming months we will continue to release new tools and features, as we learn together through use and iteration,” White said. “This includes kits to create your own custom spaces, powerful avatar and identity options, integrations with existing communications tools, and more.”

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