Here’s another first for this election cycle: The Presidential Debates will be streamed in virtual reality, and you’ll be able to join up with other viewers and have virtual viewing parties, complete with customizable avatars.
These VR viewing parties are being held by NBC in AltspaceVR, an events-focused virtual world that has recreated the broadcaster’s election-themed “Democracy Plaza” just for the occasion. AltSpaceVR can be accessed via apps for Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and HTC Vive as well as through a desktop viewer for PCs.
In addition to the debates, AltspaceVR is also hosting a few other election-related NBC events in virtual reality, starting with an appearance of Al Roker this Wednesday evening at 6p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT. And on September 29, NBC is going to host a Q&A with Steve Kornacki in Altspace.
AltspaceVR has previosly hosted live concerts and comedy nights in its virtual world, including an appearance of Reggie Watts. Some of these events have brought multiple thousand viewers to Altspace, said CEO Eric Romo this week.
“We’ve been doing a ton of work around scaling,” he said, adding that he is “cautiously optimistic” that Altspace will stay up and running during the debates as well as the actual election coverage on November 9.
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AltspaceVR has raised a $10 million round of funding from Comcast Ventures, Tencent, Dolby Family Ventures and others last July.