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Six virtual reality experiences are up for Emmy awards in 2017

Yesterday, July 13, the Television Academy officially revealed the contenders for the 2017 Emmy Awards, with the likes of Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Atlanta garnering a host of nominations. However, alongside more traditional programming, several virtual reality experiences were given recognition for their accomplishments.

The VR projects nominated for Emmys were split across two different categories, according to a report from Road to VR. Three are in contention for the Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media Within a Program gong, while another three are in the running for the Outstanding Interactive Program award.

Planet of the Couches, a “couch gag” designed in association with Google Spotlight Stories to open the 600th episode of The Simpsons in October 2016, is among the VR experiences up for the former prize. It’s joined by Netflix’s Stranger Things VR Experience, and The Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience, which was highly praised for its integration with the high-tech themes of the show.

Meanwhile, the visually arresting and emotionally heartfelt Dear Angelica and non-fiction standouts Mission: ISS and The People’s House – Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama could take home the Outstanding Interactive Program award. All three of these projects were backed by Oculus VR.

This isn’t the first time that Oculus has enjoyed success at the Emmys. Last year, the company’s animated adventure Henry — which was created by some of the talent behind Toy Story 3 and Brave — landed the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Program, and it was the first original narrative project to be released in VR that managed that feat.

High-quality content is a crucial part of bringing VR to wider audiences, and recognition from the Television Academy will be hightly beneficial to Oculus. The timing couldn’t be better for the company, as it recently launched a promotion slashing the prices of its Rift headset until the end of the summer.

VR still hasn’t taken hold among mainstream audiences, but representation at the Emmy Awards is a good step forward for this nascent and very promising medium. It will be interesting to see whether any of the six projects that have been nominated manage to claim an Emmy when the awards ceremony takes place on September 17.

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