Mozilla Acquires Metaverse Startup for Hubs Virtual World
Mozilla has acquired web-based metaverse startup Active Replica for an undisclosed sum to enhance its virtual reality chatroom and open-source Hubs project.
Mozilla’s Hubs launched three years ago, offering development tools and digital support for virtual worlds, now often referred to as the metaverse. Hubs are available through virtual reality headsets as well as web browsers, offering a chance to engage in the experiment of what Mozilla calls “immersive social experiences.” Hubs recently upgraded with tools for privacy, security, and account management, though it is no longer free at $20 a month. Active Replica is known for creating digital spaces where it hosts virtual events, including custom venue design and tech support.
“The magical, immersive experiences that Active Replica has built are perfectly attuned to our increasingly distributed, remote-first world. They use the power of the Hubs core engine, married to amazing content, to bring people closer together, even when we’re spending more time farther apart,” Mozilla senior vice president Imo Udom said in a blog post.”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 organizations 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.”
Mozilla is using the acquisition to gather more talent for their Hubs projects, including making the co-founders senior leaders in engineering and product development. Mozilla has outlined plans to enhance Hubs with customized avatars, spaces, and the ability to integrate with other platforms. That will presumably come to replace the now-defunct Firefox Reality project where the company attempted to created a version of its browser for those wearing augmented reality and virtual reality headsets at the beginning of the year. Active Replica gives Mozilla a chance to incorporate some of those ideas without having to build it all from the ground up.
“From the very first day, we’ve believed that the web-based metaverse will be the cornerstone of how people connect virtually. Working with social, cultural, and educational organizations has given us the opportunity to see how important the open web is to the future of remote communication,” Active Replica co-founders Jacob Ervin and Valerian Denis said in a statement. “Mozilla has long advocated for a healthier internet and has been an inspiration to us in its dedication and contributions to the open web. By joining forces with the Mozilla Hubs team, we’re able to further expand on our mission and inspire a new generation of creators, connectors, and builders.”