WebVR is a framework built by the W3C Consortium that intends to make it easier for developers to develop rich and interactive VR experiences with web technologies – that simply run within the web browser.
Today Microsoft has announced that they have started to develop support for WebVR within the Edge browser, and are actively contributing to the WebVR project at W3C along with Google, Oculus, Mozilla and others.
Since the work on WebVR support for Edge has just begun, there isn’t actually much to show for it. It is, however, good to see Microsoft adopting and working on new and upcoming standards.
Why this is a challenge
VR is an industry still in its infancy – it is, however, an incredibly innovative industry where the technology has to be at the cutting edge of what is possible today.
The hardware something like the HTC Vive uses has been developed after decades of trial and error – with tons of research from various industries.
A VR experience demands an extraordinary amount of power from every piece of hardware. While the display has to push 90 hertz, at an incredibly high resolution – the GPU has to render each frame two times, for the two eyes. VR is an incredibly hard challenge, and we are only at the first generation of its commercial journey.
One of the main barriers for VR is the barrier to entry – not only are devices such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive extremely expensive at the moment, but there is also a severe lack of good content for them. The easier it becomes to build content for VR, the better developers get at building it.
A standardized WebVR support across browsers would certainly help the VR industry tremendously – we just have to hope the standard is powerful enough to realize the potential of VR.