As we can see from the Active Replica acquisition, Mozilla is seemingly going all in on its Metaverse plans.
Over the last couple of weeks, Mozilla has been making some interesting moves. Not only has the company recently snatched the team behind an automated Slack updater, but it has also acquired the Canadian startup called Active Replica.
The acquisition of Active Replica is an important step for Mozilla to further the work of its Hubs team and create a “web-based Metaverse” in the next couple of years. Let’s look at Active Replica and how it will help propel Mozilla’s Metaverse project forward.
What’s Active Replica and Who’s Behind It?
Jacob Ervin and Valerian Denis founded Active Replica in 2020. Both Ervin and Denis have extensive experience in software engineering and project management, respectively.
The two have held roles in such AR/VR startups like Liminal AR, Occipital, and BlackLight. Their original goal was to create a 3D web platform enabling users to create virtual spaces where they could gather and collaborate on projects.
Before having their startup acquired by Mozilla, the founders had secured outside funding from investors such as Samsung NEXT Ventures, NoFate Capital, and Big Alpha Ventures, among others.
Why is the Acquisition so Important?
The impact of this acquisition on the Mozilla Hubs team cannot be overstated; with the additional resources provided by the former founders of Active Replica, Mozilla will be able to develop new features for its planned Metaverse platform much faster.
That will help them provide users with enhanced experiences within Hubs that were otherwise not possible.
For example, one potential feature being explored is allowing multiple people to edit objects within a single shared space simultaneously. That was not feasible before due to resource constraints but now becomes possible thanks to the additional resources provided by this acquisition.
The Mozilla Hubs Team
Launched four years ago, the Hubs team was originally pitched as an experimental project for creating virtual immersive social spaces on the web. Over time, it has evolved from being just an experiment to becoming a full-fledged project with its dedicated team of engineers and developers.
The team is now focused on evolving Hubs into a platform for creating a Metaverse where people can explore and build virtual worlds together.
The team recently expanded with the launch of a subscription-based service, introducing account management, privacy protection, and security-enhancing features. At the moment, the service costs $20 per month. However, Mozilla is planning to roll out additional tears, including a free one.
What Are Mozilla’s Metaverse Plans?
Since the acquisition was finalized, Ervin and Denis have assumed new jobs at Mozilla as a senior engineering manager and product lead. The two Canadian AR/VR experts should help the team expand Hubs and give it new life.
So far, Mozilla’s foray into the Metaverse has been met with mixed results. Although the Hubs platform is going strong, the browser maker shut down Firefox Reality earlier this year.
Firefox Reality was supposed to be a browser for VR headsets, but it failed to capture the attention of developers and users. But Mozilla is still going strong, helping develop new technologies like WebVR and WebAR.
The Future of Mozilla Hubs
The open-source project Hubs is still in its early stages, but with the acquisition of Active Replica, Mozilla is well-positioned to take it to the next level.
The mixed-reality platform should be ready for a wide-scale rollout in the next couple of years, allowing people to explore and build virtual worlds together.
With the release of new VR headsets, like Oculus Go and Meta Quest 3, Hubs’ usage might see a surge in the coming years, making it one of the more popular platforms for users looking to experience virtual reality.