Mozilla, the creators of popular web browser Firefox, has announced it snapped up Active Replica, a Canadian startup developing what it calls a “web-based metaverse”. The deal provides further evidence of Web2 and Web3 coming together in a symbiotic amalgamation of AR, VR and 2D immersive experiences.
Mozilla’s Senior Vice President Imo Udom commented that Active Replica would support the company’s Hubs VR chatroom services through personalised subscription tiers, improving the onboarding experience and introducing new interaction capabilities.
“Together, we see this as a key opportunity to bring even more innovation and creativity to Hubs than we could alone. We will benefit from their unique experience and ability to create amazing experiences that help organisations use virtual spaces to drive impact. They will benefit from our scale, our talent, and our ability to help bring their innovations to the market faster.”
Active Replica, according to its founders Jacob Ervin and Valerian Denis, sought to build a platform for virtual events and meetings built on top of Mozilla’s Hubs project.
The company sold virtual event packages including venue planning, entertainment, tech support, venue design, you name it. If you wanted to do something in the metaverse, Active Replica was the crowd to talk to.
The founders described the deal with Mozilla as “an extremely exciting day”, saying that they were thrilled to continue on their mission to “use virtual worlds to facilitate joyful gatherings”.
Mozilla launched Hubs in 2018, which at the time was seen as an experiment in “immersive social experiences”.
Hubs offers the tools and tech infrastructures to allow users to visit a portal through any browser and collaborate with others in a virtual reality environment. Hubs apparently supports all of the usual suspects in terms of headsets and goggles – from Oculus Rift to HTC Vive.
Mozilla’s immersive arm Hubs also recently launched a controversial US$20 a month service, scrapping its free plan. However it did offer users a bunch of additional benefits including account management tools, privacy and security features.
According to Mozilla, the plan is to roll out additional tiers and reintroduce a free version in the future, along with kits to create custom spaces, avatar and identity options and integrations with existing collaboration tools.
Now, with the acquisition of Active Replica, it’s evident that the company is moving ever-closer towards Web3. This isn’t the first and almost certainly won’t be the last instance of Web2 and Web3 companies joining forces. Just recently, Google and Coinbase teamed up in what many called an unholy alliance.