React 360 Replaces React VR for Streamlined Development Focus

Oculus Creators Blog
Posted by Andrew Imm
May 2, 2018

Today at F8, we announced the transition to React 360—an updated framework that makes it easier than ever for creators like you to bring your experiences to life in an interactive way. To learn more, check out the full blog post below.

When we released React VR in April of 2017, our goal was to create a web-based framework that would enable developers to easily add interactivity to immersive content in order to create engaging experiences. Because the content can be viewed in any modern web browser, developers can potentially reach billions of mobile and PC users, in addition to early adopters of VR headsets.

Over the past year, developers have used React VR to create some outstanding experiences, which largely fall into three main use cases:

  • Transporting people to places they may not otherwise visit by creating interactive tours from high quality 360° photos - such as those from the British Museum, the National Gallery, and others
  • Promoting a brand or product through a differentiated multi-platform immersive experience, like the work from Sony Pictures and Dubai Tourism
  • Supplementing 2D news coverage by creating interactive features, as seen in the work by USA TODAY and NBC

React 360 can be seen in two new experiences launching today that showcase the power of interactive exploration:

  • A journey inside the Svalbard Seed Vault, one of the northernmost places on earth. The Oculus team captured immersive footage from the recent 10 year anniversary celebration, building an interactive tour to transport you to far off Norway.
  • National Geographic takes you to Son Doong- the world's largest cave located in Vietnam. By adding information and navigation hotspots, ambient audio and voice narration, high quality 360 photos are elevated to an engaging experience. (Read more about the making of over on National Geographic).

These examples are some of the best applications of React VR we’ve seen. That said, React VR has very real limitations. While some of these limitations—like performance issues and support for more immersive content—can be immediately addressed, others—including Oculus Store distribution and complex 3D scene support—will take much longer to mitigate.

As a result, we’re working to realign the framework to more accurately represent how developers are using it today. And with the release of our next major update, we’ll also rename the framework as React 360.

React 360 is a better reflection of how this framework is used by most developers and also highlights the large audience of non-VR users that developers are able to reach with React 360 content. While the core functionality you’ve come to expect hasn’t changed, this rebranding provides clearer prioritization for our future roadmap planning and the latest improvements introduced today at F8. Highlights include:

  1. Pixel Perfect 2D: It’s now much easier to build 2D interfaces in 3D space, as the framework lets developers add 2D UI to surfaces optimized for clarity and ease of layout
  2. Improved Media Support: We’ve added new environment features to better handle immersive media, including support for 180° mono and stereo video, built-in transitions, and faster loading
  3. Better Performance: Developers can now take advantage of improvement in playback performance—especially on lower-end mobile devices—thanks to major changes in the runtime architecture

We’ll have more details to share with our next major release, and we look forward to seeing the new experiences that you’ll create with React 360. Keep building!

By: Andrew Imm, Software Engineer