Native VR apps are mostly developed with gaming engines like Unity for platforms like Oculus and HTC. This ensures that all interfaces to hardware function uniformly and that the device’s resources are used optimally.
A WebVR App is basically nothing else than a specially programmed HTML5 website with OpenGL, which recognizes the device and displays the content optimized for it. This has the great advantage that any device with a browser can use the app.
Depending on use case native VR apps or WebVR apps can be the better choice.
Advantages of native VR Apps
Native VR apps are optimized for a certain operating system and therefore the better choice for complex and/or compute-intensive apps with high graphics quality:
- Native apps store data in any amount on the VR device
- The development is easier for experienced Unity developers, because Unity offers more out-of-the-box developer tools, which you don’t have to program “manually” again. An example would be a physics engine.
- VR App Stores like the Oculus App Store or Steam are known sources for apps. The effort for distribution; especially the sale of native apps is therefore less
Disadvantages of native VR Apps
- The installation in the enterprise is complex and complex, if not impossible. Especially professional, non-gaming apps, which are to be used in companies, are difficult to use due to security restrictions.
- Native apps require more adaptation effort to be developed for different device types
- Native apps are often more complex to control by the user. VR controllers are complex input devices, which first have to be learned by the user
- Native VR apps have a smaller user range, since only owners of VR headsets can be considered as users for the app
Advantages of WebVR Apps
- WebVR Apps work with all operating systems and on all smartphones and VR glasses – therefore more potential users can be reached at less cost
- The development of a WebVR App is usually cheaper than the development of a native app for a single operating system
- WebVR Apps also enable offline use.Storage of data and thus the use of a once loaded Web-App even without permanent Internet access
- A WebVR App can be easily integrated into Enterprise IT environments
- WebVR Apps can be found via Google and Co. and used directly without installation. If the user saves the Web App as a bookmark, it is – like a native app – available on the home screen
- WebVR Apps can be published and updated in a matter of seconds and do not have to go through an approval process.
- The commission of usually 30% to the operator of the App Store is waived for their own sales
Disadvantages of WebVR Apps
- WebVR apps do not allow apps as graphic intensive as native apps. You have to carefully plan how complex a 3D scene is and which devices you want to support
- The implementation of navigation in a long-range WebVR app usually requires a more restrictive use of VR controllers, so that you can ensure a simple user experience across all devices
- Currently WebVR apps are still little known as technology and need more explanation about the application possibilities for customers
- WebVR apps require significantly more “Java coding” experience for developers who have previously worked with Unity, i.e. a different skill set is required than before
The trend currently goes noticeably towards the WebVR App when it comes to developing Enterprise VR Apps. This development is correct insofar as it puts more emphasis on the price/performance ratio and less on graphic quality. WebVR Apps are easy to integrate into existing IT structures and reduce manual adaptation efforts for new VR devices. Well-designed WebVR apps are often also easy for the user to learn, since navigation is almost “responsive” and fewer special VR controller functions are implemented. Software platforms such as ZREALITY Sphere allow the rapid development of WebVR Apps for all VR devices and facilitate the entry into Enterprise VR Apps. When it comes to developing game-like apps, Native VR apps are clearly ahead of the game, as they focus on high interactivity and graphics quality.