//Why Native VR App Experiences are Still Better than Web VR

Why Native VR App Experiences are Still Better than Web VR

Web VR has improved. But publishing native VR applications — particularly for Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive — is still by far your best option. We discuss why. 

We’re big fans of Web VR. We discussed why in this article, which also explained why we started offering a limited version of it to our Free customers: Why We Made Web VR Available to our Free Customers. But the truth remains that Web VR is best suited for advertising your true native VR application — be it for iOS, Android, Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive. (all of which InstaVR publishes to)

Web VR is still in its infancy. Particularly on a laptop, or even on a mobile phone with Google Cardboard, it’s not going to be comparable to the experience of a true VR app. We wanted to clear up some misconceptions and guide our users on why they shouldn’t just publish to Web VR.


Mobile VR Applications Are Still Better for Video

Over the course of the last 18 months, we’ve seen a huge — and expected — shift from still 360 panorama photos to 360 video. This makes sense as 360-degree cameras have improved over time, and more 4K+ resolution ones hit the market, including the Insta360 Pro and the new Ricoh Theta. The future of VR is really in video.

However, the present of Web VR is more geared towards still images. For example, the FPS (Frames Per Second) rate of Web VR is generally 20 or less. Many humans get nauseous at  anything less than 60 FPS. So your typical viewer of Web VR video will have a generally unpleasant experience.

360 video is still best experienced on a powerful mobile device, such as the Samsung Gear VR, or a tethered high-powered VR system like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. If you’re going to take the time to edit together a compelling 360 video experience, you want your audience to experience it in the best way possible.


Mobile VR Applications Reduce the Need for Connectivity

To put it bluntly: 360-degree VR experiences require a lot of bandwidth. Mobile applications are typically large in size, particularly if they’re maintaining the high fidelity of the initial media capture. If you’re downloading a mobile VR app for iOS, Android, Gear VR, Google Daydream, etc, it’s always best to be on Wi-Fi or a high-powered mobile data network.

But that is a problem with Web VR. You don’t know where your audience is going to be accessing your VR experience from. They could be doing it from a 3G network, or worst case, have a mobile plan that meters their usage. Furthermore, mobile connectivity is spotty. I have been at trade shows in major cities where, because of the building I was in, it was hard to access a mobile network. If you have to show off a 360 experience requiring connectivity, that’s very risky. (Note: The emergence of HTML 5 has helped eliminate some, but not all, of the issues of trying to run Web VR offline)

It’s always best to fully download a mobile VR app and run it locally. It reduces the chances of buffering or a slow connection or accelerometer issues. A native Gear VR experience, shown locally, is generally devoid of these potential issues. (as long as you remember to charge your Samsung phone!) For high stakes presentations, like trade shows or sales meetings, you unfortunately don’t want to put your hands in the mobile connectivity Gods.


Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive are Best for Long-Form VR

Most of the Enterprise use cases for VR — VR for Training, VR for Education, VR for Hiring, etc — are going to require long-form VR experiences, which are ideally suited for the higher-end VR headsets. We’ve documented how some of our most advanced clients are building out applications to train new employees. To date, most of those applications are being experienced on the above mentioned platforms, particularly the Gear VR.

The reasoning is pretty simple. A platform like Gear VR will allow for fully immersive VR, while still being fairly comfortable. Most of Web VR is still being experienced on a phone paired with an entry-level headset like Google Cardboard, which simply isn’t as immersive or built for wearing for long periods of time. Gear VR can also handle very long-form applications, thanks to our ability to publish to the SD storage tied to the phone.

Furthermore, the above four headsets all can incorporate a hand controller for interaction. For many VR builders and users, this is preferable to the gaze-based navigation used by Web VR and mobile Web VR experiences.



As a monthly subscriber to InstaVR Pro, you can publish to any of the major VR headsets you want to. There might be an initial inclination to only publish to Web VR, since it should be the platform accessible to the most people. However, for many B2B use cases, particularly involving video, long-form VR, or enterprise uses, it’s better to publish apps built for specific higher-end headsets.

Web VR is still in its infancy. Our suggestion is to publish to Web VR to showcase a preview of what you’ve built. But for the final VR experience, use the platform that most fits your audiences’ needs. An thanks to our subscription model, you don’t need to make an either/or decision.

2019-07-03T09:29:52+00:00 September 25th, 2017|General|