If you didn’t know that Mozilla has created a VR-specific version of Firefox called Firefox Reality, then it’s okay not to know, as Mozilla announced today that it’s discontinuing support for the browser just over three years after the release. introduction would halt it.
Spanish co-op Igalia will pick up the pieces next week with a “somewhat beta” browser called Wolvic, which will be based on Firefox Reality source code. Firefox Reality will be removed from all app stores in which it is available “in the coming weeks.” Like Firefox Reality, Wolvic will use the WebXR standard to enable VR and AR experiences on websites, rather than requiring a download of a standalone app from a curated app store.
This could simply be a case of a company abandoning a niche project that was intended for a niche market that didn’t arouse enough interest from users – it’s rare for companies to not only cancel, but willingly hand over overwhelmingly successful products. But Mozilla has been open about the need to manage its resources carefully as it has shrunk over the years.
Firefox’s usage share has gradually declined over most of the past decade (according to StatCounter, it currently has just over 9 percent usage share on desktop operating systems, down from a peak of about 32 percent in 2010, but up slightly from a low of 7. percent in mid-2021). That said, the company has had some success with paid products such as the Mozilla VPN, the storage-now-read-later service Pocket, and the email forwarding service Firefox Relay. The company expects sales to rise this year, but not nearly enough to reduce its reliance on search and advertising deals with companies like Google.