NBC News has teamed up with AltspaceVR to turn Rockefeller Center Plaza into a digitized, interactive version called “Virtual Democracy Plaza” amid the drive toward the U.S. presidential election.
Billed as a digitized “political epicenter” to cultivate interaction and discussion, Virtual Democracy Plaza is the VR version of the real Democracy Plaza that NBC News runs each presidential election season that features a national map superimposed on the Center’s iconic ice skating rink.
NBC News is also producing programming for Virtual Democracy Plaza, including debate watch parties, live Q&A discussions with political experts, and political comedy events leading up to election night (see below for more detail).
Users also have the option to join smaller activities started by others or host their own event by inviting their AltspaceVR “friends.”
For the “full” experience, visitors can enter Virtual Democracy Plaza via the Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR, or access a “flat” non-3D version using a Web browser at altvr.com/nbcnews.
Here’s the current list of upcoming Virtual Democracy Plaza events:
-September 21 at 6 p.m. ET: Opening Event - ribbon cutting ceremony with Today show co-anchor and weatherman Al Roker
-September 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET: Debate Watch Party and audience vote/after party
-September 29 at 12:30 p.m. ET: Ask the political expert - Q&A with Steve Kornacki
-October 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET: V.P. Debate Watch Party
-October 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET: Debate Watch Party
-October 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET: Debate Watch Party
-November 8 at 6:00 p.m. ET: Live Election Night coverage
NBC and AltspaceVR said more events are in the works.
“This partnership with NBC is a great example of how social virtual reality allows people from around the world to come together for a shared experience,” Eric Romo, CEO of AltspaceVR, said in a statement.
Comcast Ventures participated in a $10.3 million found in funding in AltspaceVR announced in August 2015.