If you didn’t know that Mozilla made a VR-specific version of Firefox called Firefox Reality, then it’s OK for you to continue not knowing, because Mozilla announced today that it would be discontinuing support for the browser a little over three years after introducing it.
The 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’s source code. Firefox Reality will be removed from all the 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 may simply be a case of a company discontinuing a niche project intended for a niche market that wasn’t generating sufficient user interest—it’s rare for companies not just to cancel but to willingly hand off overwhelmingly successful products. But Mozilla has been open about its need to carefully manage its resources as it has downsized over the years—The company endured multiple rounds of layoffs in 2020, both pre– and mid-pandemic, citing a need to “refocus.”
Firefox’s usage share has dwindled gradually over most of the last 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 nadir of 7 percent in mid-2021). That said, the company is seeing some success with paid products like the Mozilla VPN, the save-now-read-later service Pocket, and the email-forwarding service Firefox Relay. The company expects its revenue to increase this year, though not nearly enough to reduce its dependency on search and advertising deals with companies like Google.