Numerous brands have begun developing their own virtual reality headsets. However, all these headsets are different and require specific setups. With WebVR, these differences in format will no longer be the headache they are now: the user will only need his browser to access a unique and user-friendly experience.
What is Web-VR?
Web-VR is often associated with WebGL. It is an
API (a programming interface), which allows virtual reality peripherals, such
as the Occulus Rift, access to your browser.
Web-VR was born from the desire to create new
immersive possibilities through websites, without the need to download software,
and regardless of the particular type of virtual reality headset used.
Like WebGL, Web-VR works with your browser.
Consequently, it has to be compatible with as many platforms as possible, whether it is just a simple Smartphone or a powerful and sophisticated computer.
How does Web-VR work?
Web-VR uses WebGL in order to display 3D on a browser with the same graphical fidelity.
However it's important to remember that the universal
language of the web remains HTML/CSS. It is the language used by developers to create virtual reality experiences.
Is virtual reality going to become a new standard for the modern-day web?
Responsive web design and virtual reality
While there is a growing enthusiasm for virtual
reality headsets, one question troubles the world of the Oculus Rift and its
derivatives: how do we offer a user-friendly experience on every platform?
The issue is not a recent one, as several websites already have incompatibilities between computer and
mobile. Developers have found a solution: instead of running on a specific
application or with a specific type of headset, virtual reality experiences
will simply be coded in HTML and be accessible via browser. This is the core
concept of WebVR.
The mobile version of Safari, Apple’s browser,
has successfully defined a system of display and interaction for traditional
browser websites on iPhone screens.
Browsers: WebVR's main strike force
For WebVR to become a functional part of the modern web, desktop and
mobile browsers will have to integrate support for the user interface, and in
some cases, frequently update their security and interface standards.
The universality of the web is its strength.
Developers can, for the most part, create a unique experience and be certain
that it can run on every modern browser. In order to ensure that WebVR reaches
its potential and becomes a viable option for VR developers, browsers will have
to support the new WebVR API (as well as integrating a basic platform that
monitors the evolution and performance of the user experience).
At the moment, Firefox Nightly and a special
version of Chrome support WebVR. The developers of both entities have
experimented with WebVR. The announcement of the Occulus Rift’s
commercialization in 2016 should encourage big companies to invest in the
improvement of their browsers.
A unique user experience.
WebVR: your friendly API
WebGL already offers an incredible quality of
experience and an astonishing level of interactivity. WebVR makes this
experience even more immersive and striking. And since it aims to be available
on every browser, platform, and accessible from any headset, WebVR is
fundamentally user-friendly. A glimpse of this technology’s future can be
caught in the enthusiasm sparked off by the Occulus Rift and virtual reality in
Here are a few examples of WebVR projects, only
available on Firefox Nightly at present:
Another way to enjoy virtual reality in a browser
is Gear VR, a headset in which you insert your Smartphone. Cheaper than any
other headset, if you own a Samsung phone, Gear VR offers an affordable
opportunity to experience virtual reality.