Firefox 55 brings Virtual Reality to your browser after 23 years of wait

WebVR is now a thing in Firefox 55 for Windows, Mozilla revealed in an announcement.

So, all you need to do is connect your compatible VR headset, including HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and experience virtual reality without installing any custom apps to do the same.

Well, Chrome and Edge already have WebVR support with some limitations and Firefox is not the first to be capable of running VR content. But, Mozilla says Firefox is the first desktop browser to have support for WebVR.

WebVR was first proposed in 2014 by Vladimir Vukićević while he was working at Mozilla. Later, WebVR received combined inputs from the Mozilla and Google; Microsoft joined at a later stage. Mozilla VR team has also developed a new framework called A-Frame which can be used to create WebVR content.

If you have a VR headset at hand, you can update your Firefox and try some stuff Mozilla has put on their new WebVR website. Mozilla’s SVP Sean White has detailed more about WebVR and its history. According to White, the web-based virtual reality isn’t completely new but a thing that he had seen around 23 years ago.

“Back in 1994, I remember going to a party hosted by Mark Pesce, where they had a Sun workstation running one of the first web-based VR models, a rotating virtual cube,” said White in his Medium post.

“It was a simple demonstration of an incredibly exciting moment: putting VR on the web.”

Further building on their multi-processing feature, Firefox 55 now includes a Performance Panel to change the number of content processes Firefox uses for Electrolysis (E10S-multi). The same was possible earlier but required the user to tweak some hidden settings.

The web browser now features a click to run option for playing content that requires Adobe Flash plugin. It’s a part of Mozilla’s strategy to phase out Flash which would go out of development at the end of 2020.

Mozilla also says they worked to reduce the load time for restoring closed tabs from a previous session. And you’re already aware of how fast Firefox is at opening new tabs, 1691 in just 15 seconds.