The New York Times announced about a month ago that subscribers of their print would receive a Google Cardboard bundled into the Sunday edition of their regular New York Times Magazine publications. This isn’t just a huge thing for Google but also a huge thing for Virtual Reality in general as it has pushed cheap handsets into people’s homes and therefore, showed them the potentials of the technology ahead.
Google Cardboard itself is by no means a high-end experience and is arguably the cheapest way to experience virtual reality to date, offering you a simple piece of cardboard that folds into a headset shape which you then slot your phone into the back and experience the wonderful world of virtual reality. The Cardboard headset works brilliantly with Google’s own Cardboard application which allows you to access all your VR apps in one place.
There’s no doubting Google have made their Cardboard headset really accessible for anybody with a smartphone and The New York Times have now shown that to over 1.3 million people with their free bundling of the Cardboard. This will get virtual reality and the potential of future projects from big companies into people’s hands and therefore, is huge news when it comes to making virtual reality mainstream.
Along with the release of the Cardboard headsets themselves, The New York Times will be releasing a documentary entitled “The Displaced” that the people with these headsets will be able to view via a link in the newspaper itself. According to editor-in-chief at The New York Times Jake Silverstein, the documentary is “a story about three children who are caught in a global refugee crisis” and the documentary will run for about 10-12 minutes.
The team behind the project worked with the VR production Company Vrse, who already have some highly reputable virtual reality apps for the Google Cardboard headset. Also, the audio will be led by award-winning music video director Chris Milk who built the camera rig and supplied the crew for a few VR projects already.
The most important news about all this though is that the reaction has been positive. It has opened up people’s eyes who knew nothing about the idea of virtual reality and how genuinely good it is these days and more importantly it’s shown kids what they want in the coming years. Virtual Reality on the Google Cardboard is very good, so imagine what the likes of Oculus, Sony, and HTC can do with their $300-$600 headsets that will be coming out in the next few years? All we know is that people are now interested, very interested, in the idea of virtual reality.