CNN made a big push into virtual reality last year when it launched a new CNNVR unit staffed by correspondents in 12 cities around the world. Shortly after, the company released an Android VR app and desktop site for anyone interested in exploring its immersive, 360-degree videos.
Now, the company is launching an experience specifically for Oculus Rift headsets called CNNVR.
The app allows CNN viewers to experience both breaking news and longer stories in 360-degree virtual reality. It’s a collaboration between CNN and Magnopus, the Los Angeles-based entertainment studio behind such VR experiences as Coco VR and Mission: ISS.
After putting on a Rift headset, the viewer is positioned as the “producer” of a CNN-esque news show. With the guidance of Wolf Blitzer, you can choose to view the latest breaking news from CNN, or to be immersed in the latest 360 video from the company’s journalists.
“I think that every medium has its unique ability,” CNNVR executive producer Jason Farkas says in the product’s commercial. “The written word, the photograph. Virtual reality can absolutely change the way people understand stories.”
Currently, the app features over 100 news stories, which will be delivered in 4K resolution. You’ll also get breaking news alerts from CNN’s Twitter account while viewing the videos.
“I’ve often felt ‘I wish I could transport the viewer here,'” says CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon in promotional video. “Virtual reality brings us that step closer to the experience.”
Will anyone actually use this thing? Who knows — but at the very least, maybe this release will remind skeptical parents that virtual reality technology can, in fact, be put to productive use.