CNN to live-stream Democratic debate in virtual reality

virtual reality democratic debate samsung vr
Whether we’re talking about John King’s beloved touchscreen maps or will.i.am appearing in studio via hologram during the 2008 election, CNN likes to incorporate space-age technology into its political coverage. That trend will most certainly continue at this year’s inaugural Democratic Presidential debate, when CNN rolls out (drum roll please …): virtual reality.

The news outlet is set to pair with VR live streaming company NextVR for the Oct. 13 debate, marking the first-ever live stream of a news event in virtual reality. The idea is to provide the closest possible facsimile of a front-row seat as the candidates duke it out for the 2016 Democratic nomination.

The network is describing the experience as “full 3D immersive virtual reality,” and to take part, you’ll need a Samsung GearVR headset. With that equipped, you can tune in at the NextVR portal in the Oculus Store. Once downloaded, the debate will be streamable from the perspective of an audience member at the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

While the perspective might be the same, however, users won’t be locked in and will be able to choose which candidate they’d like to focus on. Though there will be fewer options than there were at the Republican debate (zing!), viewers will have quite a bit of freedom in exploring the virtual space.

CNN’s virtual reality broadcast was originally rolled out for the CNN’s Republican presidential debate, but the event was not streamed live. That being said, it provided a stepping stone that allowed the network to move forward.

And so — for no discernable reason other than “because it’s awesome” — you can now feel the Bern, or get up close and personal with a Clinton from the comfort of your own home. God bless America, folks!

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