Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, today announced that it’s laying off 250 employees, apparently shuttering the team responsible for most of its web-focused XR development. Hubs, the company’s web-based social VR app, will continue forward.

Mozilla has been a leading proponent for bringing XR experiences to the web. Five years ago the company published a guest article on Road to VR laying down their plans to make VR a “first class citizen on the web.”

In the intervening years the company’s XR team has created and contributed to a foundation for immersive experiences on the web with projects like A-Frame, WebVR & WebXR support in Firefox, WebXR Viewer on iOS, the Firefox Reality browser, Hubs, and more.

Hubs—perhaps the team’s most ambitious project to date—is an immersive social space that runs directly in the browser with no installation and has rich support for VR headsets while still being accessible through smartphone and PC browsers. Supporting Hubs is Spoke, a completely browser-based 3D modeling tool that lets anyone build custom spaces for Hubs.

Hubs (and possibly Spoke by extension) may turn out to be the only ones of the bunch to survive the shuttering of Mozilla’s XR team which has come as part of a layoff of some 250 of the company’s 1,000 or so employees.

The company announced the news today saying that “significant restructuring” needed to happen to “ensure financial stability over the long term.” In an internal message shared today with employees, the company said the layoffs were more than a short-term decision:

The changes we’re making today are focused on creating an organization that is best equipped to provide products and services that deliver on our mission and aim to make Mozilla Corporation sustainable, over the long term, in the COVID and post-COVID eras. We did not simply “trim.” We did not approach this as a stop-gap or a way to get us through the next few months. We looked at what Mozilla Corporation needs to do to be sustainable and have impact over time. Then we reshaped the organization to meet this, mapping the critical roles and skill sets required to deliver on this outcome.

According to the message, the restructuring will bring a “new product organization outside of Firefox that will both ship new products faster and develop new revenue streams.”

Initial projects handled by that group will include Hubs, the company says, among non-VR projects like Pocket, VPN, Web Assembly, and security & privacy products.

The company hasn’t offered much more in the way of detail, but an employee on Twitter said that the company is “closing down the XR team,” which suggests that most of the company’s immersive web projects beyond Hubs may not continue.

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Another Mozilla employee urged on Twitter, “don’t write off Mozilla Hubs just yet. We’re still here, fighting for the open web,” and said that the company’s XR team has “put us in a position to succeed and we won’t let their work go to waste. Hubs was designed from the start to be resilient and we will get through this.”

Earlier this year Mozilla launched Hubs Cloud. While anyone can make and join rooms for free in Hubs, with Hubs Cloud, Mozilla is giving away the foundation of the platform itself so that organizations can use it as a basis for their own, self-hosted virtual spaces that can be customized and extended to their needs, making it a decentralized platform.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Mateusz Pawluczuk

    What about A-Frame? I hope at least they’ll keep it on some form of life support

    • Seems like A-Frame will continue since it’s a dependency of Hubs afaik, but it would be good to hear an official word on it from Mozilla.

      • Hey, I’m the co-creator of A-Frame. We’ve been maintaining it out of our own pockets and funds independently outside of Mozilla for 3 years. There hasn’t been contributors from Mozilla since, so A-Frame will continue the same as it has for the last 5 years.

        • That’s both good news that it’ll continue, but sad news that none of the big interests in XR on the web are actually investing in your work.

          I’m stuck in Unity land mostly these days, but A-Frame is super cool and made a couple past projects possible that wouldn’t have been otherwise. Thanks for that!

          • Actually, Google has invested a bit in A-Frame updates! And Oculus has helped out with A-Frame contributions. So those are the companies to thank over the last couple years.

            I’ve been in Unity a bit more as well, helps guide decisions on A-Frame. WebXR might not be sustainable for most, but A-Frame and WebXR has its definite use cases though (ease of sharing, less install friction, promotion and marketing).

    • Diego and I have been maintaining A-Frame by ourselves the last 3 years over at so I hope people trust it’ll continue as it has been.


    “Asynchronous VR” will always be hyped and fail regardless of speed. Just create an article with this title so we can read the same comments over and over, never to seeing any new comments ever again! Then that Disqus bug will be actually be doing us a favor…

  • Rainfox Wolfstone

    closing down the XR team, as in we are not making our own content , or support for WebXR is going to be lacking? clarification would be nice

  • This is the worst news of the week. Mozilla was creating amazing projects for a future open XR world. Think about A-frame, Firefox Reality, the WebXR exporter for Unity… what will happen to all these projects? And especially… WHY has mozilla slashed its XR team?

    • For A-Frame, Diego and I have been maintaining A-Frame independently (at for a while, out of our own pockets) for the last 3 years, so nothing will change with it, and it will continue as it has been!