WebVR = Sharable VR

People like to share. Its human nature to want to share things because sharing is a basic unit of socialising.

By Shaun Dunne on

WebVR = Sharable VR

People like to share. Its human nature to want to share things because sharing is a basic unit of socialising. We might want to share to bring value and entertainment to others, we share because we want to reinforce the image of ourselves and we share because maybe we want to feel more involved and active.

Over the last few months I’ve been sharing VR and its probably one of my favourite things to do since getting my GearVR ( I know — it’s not thought of as ‘Real’ VR ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) Giving someone their first taste of a technology that changes everything and being there for their first reaction to it is awesome. I’ve taken my Oculus to school fairs and given kids a chance to try it out as well as some adults and everyone has a different take. Its certainly made me think a bit harder about how VR will penetrate the majority and solidified in my mind that the only way that VR can really gain a foothold in the home would be through WebVR experiences.

Cheaper and better hardware will come, and likely a lot faster than a lot of us might think, but being able to experience something instantly without having to find and download an app could be the difference between someone trying out VR or not. Right now thats not the experience even for WebVR — If you want to check out anything with one of the Desktop VR headsets, there is still some setup to go through, but for MobileVR a URL can be enough for the most basic of experiences and as more consumer versions of the high end VR headsets start arriving and WebVR starts making it into stable builds of the popular browsers this year, the desktop experience will become much more tailored for WebVR too.

XKCD — SHARING — https://xkcd.com/956/

High End games and other more in-depth experiences are a little beyond the browsers capability at the moment and should live on a distribution platform (such as Steam, Oculus store or Viveport) but a lot of stuff thats already available on those platforms could very easily on the web. A gallery of 360 videos shouldn’t require you to download a few gigabytes worth of app just to look at a single video when a WebVR enabled page with the videos available for selection could do the same thing and if I want to share an interactive art gallery with people who don’t necessarily have even a mobile VR viewer — they should be able to have some sort of experience, even if its an adaptive one.

On the web we’ve gotten used to the idea of Responsive and Adaptive experiences. We build for different screen dimensions in different hardware and we can continue to do that for VR.

Right now, if you have a Gear VR you can connect it to your Facebook account and experience any 360 video shared in your timeline on your GearVR. With Oculus/Facebook seemingly wanting to play a big part in WebVR with the announcement and since release of their WebVR specific browser (Carmel) and dipping their toes in the WebVR development field with ReactVR it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they decide that WebVR experiences can be embedded on Facebook in some way. Now you won’t even have to leave your favourite social network to jump into the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is far too big of an idea for an App Store. On the web VR can be sharable via a URL, it can be discovered via a search engine (it can be SEO-able). You can tweet it or embed it on your Wordpress blog and allow it to spread to millions of people. Someone without a VR headset might see it in their browser and might be curious as to how it is in VR, leading them to purchase a HMD of some-sort, gaining another set of eyeballs and opening up a whole new level of ideas and culture.

I don’t know what the future of VR is, but I know it has the potential to fundamentally change the way we share information on the web. How we curate content for consumers and how we interact with the knowledge of the world.