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The State of Web VR

BY Christo Mabbs

{Front-End Web Developer}

17 April 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of my favourite aspects of programming is the collaboration and openness I see in the community. Individuals share resources, tutorials and projects like no community I’ve experienced before.

It may be the ease in ability to put things up on the web or maybe it’s just the passion people have for what they’re creating. Whatever the case – it’s my belief that this has contributed to rapid growth in this industry. The evolution of ideas becomes faster, weirder and better the more accessible it is.

Interestingly, for an area that has had a lot of hype, growth in VR technologies seems to be surprisingly low. Uptake of VR devices and the quality apps is not meeting expectations. While high budget apps and games are available, it’s still seen as more of a novelty than a staple in any geeks tech device portfolio.

With that in mind we come to Web VR 2019 where the main benefit is that of the internet in general, accessibility. There are various platforms and available VR environments up and running. Imagine being able to setup and explore a 3D environment as easily as you can setup a Google Doc. Here are a few libraries trying to do just this!

A Frame

A web framework for building virtual reality experiences. Makes WebVR with HTML and Entity-Components. Works on Vive, Rift, desktop and mobile platforms.

WebVR

A JavaScript API for creating immersive 3D, Virtual Reality experiences in your browser.

 

We also come to the issue of viewing these websites. You don’t need a high-end device to do so, technologies like Google Cardboard push the forefront of accessibility by creating a surprisingly good VR experience that uses your mobile phone. They pride this project on providing “Immersive experiences for everyone”. Google Cardboard and similar products can be purchased for roughly $20 from a huge number of websites.

I’m not sure what the future of VR holds but its popularity will depend on its accessibility, not flashiness.

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