NBC, together with AltspaceVR, is turning the US presidential election into a VR event by broadcasting the first presidential debates to registered users with VR headsets. The broadcast is available to people from around the world and are intended to bring the viewers up close to candidates in a 360º video format.
Users can join the main event or host watch parties with your friends. They can also create public events tailored to a specific political direction. At least in VR space there should be no physical conflict possible between the supporters of each candidate!
This is only part of the activities planned by NBC for the US election. The event is part of the Democracy Plaza where the avatar of AL Roker (an NBC anchor) was greeting the users at the launch. As known to US readers, Al Roker is the weather man on the NBC Today show. There are also other NBC anchors involved in the project, even though it is not clear in what capacity.
This is a real interesting approach to VR. While on the one side the VR headset is used as a 360º video screen, the technology also adds social interaction to the mix by creating special events with famous people that you can meet ‘in person’. It is not what many would expect VR to be, but it is a way to ease more people into the virtual aspect of VR. -NH