At Least You Didn't Watch The First Trump-Clinton Debate In VR

The virtual reality "watch party" for the first Trump-Clinton debate was a bust. It was presented by VR hangout app Altspace and NBC News, and just amounted to glorified Second Life, basically. Avatars of people from around the world watching a flat video stream. Not a great experience.

I captured the video above while watching some of the debate through the app. I was using an Oculus Rift headset, though Gear VR and Vive were also both supported. As you'll see, presenting the debate in VR didn't add anything useful.

Last year's Democratic Primary Debate in VR was way better, because they put cameras on stage for that one and let users view the debate from various angles. And even that wasn't that great, given the lack of viewer control of the experience.

Maybe next time?


    Trump is nauseating enough on TV without adding VR into the mix.

    What exactly would you be expecting though? If you were there you'd just be sitting in a crowd watching two people debate as well. VR is going to be a lot of "Do this thing, but in VR." We already see it with games where it's just letting the player's head act as a right stick but otherwise being a game you can play without VR.

    I guess the missed opportunity here was that they didn't do more to capitalise on the ability to present a space filled with the information you might like to know like newstands with past articles, or TV shops showing related media stories and that kind of thing. Second Life, for all its problems, was the first step toward a world of Virtual Reality, we just weren't sticking our heads into it but now we are starting to have the technology to allow us to experience those Virtual Realities first hand.

    Last edited 27/09/16 3:51 pm

      360 cameras are quite cheap... not cheap enough for the event apparently

      I know that VR has its limits, but I think that people were hoping for something a little more advanced than "Virtual Watch TV With Friends/Strangers".

    At Least You Didn't Watch The First Trump-Clinton Debate In VR


    [Looks around]

    @weresmurf! Have you seen that Oculus of mine with Star Trek 9 and 10 on it? I think I need it to escape Trump.

    How is this a bust? How was this not a great experience? Just because the debate didn't feature 3D 360 VR video doesn't mean this particular live stream event in Altspace was a bust. You would have seen promotion for 3D 360 VR in an app dedicated to such experiences. Altspace isn't about isolating everyone to a single user experience, it's about meeting others and hanging out. This event successfully did that. There was even an after party with a live DJ. So instead of calling this event a bust, perhaps you should write about how this event allowed people from around the nation (and world for those interested) to watch the debate in a cool environment together. This is another step forward for social VR.

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