One hundred years ago, the US National Parks system was newly established, and people around the world used stereoscopes to view 3D slides of these natural wonders. The more things are different, the more they stay the same: Today, Oculus announced a new virtual reality experience where you can explore Yosemite National Park alongside President Obama.
The VR journey, called "Through the Ages: President Obama Celebrates America's National Parks," is a joint effort from Oculus, Felix & Paul Studios, and National Geographic. It launched today through the Oculus Store for Gear VR, and will be arriving to the Rift soon. There's also a 360-degree video version on Facebook.
Nearly 11 minutes long, it documents the Obama family's recent trip to Yosemite. It includes about ten 360-degree videos of different majestic locations. In scenes with the president, it feels like you're right there with him. His overarching narration, conversations and speeches throughout are an effort to raise awareness and action on national park conservation.
The release coincides with the centennial anniversary of the US National Parks Service, but don't dismiss it as just a flash-in-the-pan commemoration. Whether or not the experience appeals to you, visiting Yosemite with the president is exactly the kind of extraordinary opportunity that's only possible through VR.
Furthermore, a sitting president using this medium as a propaganda tool is a sure sign that VR has "arrived." We foresee many more of these types of educational, promotional and even celebrity-driven experiences coming to VR, amongst so many other exciting possibilities.
It will be more immersive in VR, but below you can take a look at the 360-degree video on your 2D screen.
Source: Oculus Blog