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Celebrate New Year’s Eve…in VR

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Capping off a huge year for VR, people around the world are turning to VR for NYE celebrations.

Every year, people from around world get together to ring in the new year. Some travel to faraway locations to join hordes of revelers in celebratory countdowns replete with massive fireworks shows. Others find comfort in quieter, more intimate celebrations with friends and family.

This year, there’s a new option to toss into the mix: VR.

For the first time ever, people from all around the world will be able enjoy London’s NYE celebrations with a 360° immersive experience. Individuals will be able to have a personalized view of the celebration with the ability to control the camera angle by tilting and panning on their tablet, mobile device, or computer. 

“The BBC brings the nation together – and New Year’s Eve is one of the most special times of the year for many in the UK and across the world,” said BBC Chief Technology and Product Officer Matthew Postgate. “We’re thrilled to end the year with a special 360° experience of London’s spectacular fireworks online.  So from Belfast to Birmingham, from Swansea to Stirling – viewers can experience the magic of London’s fireworks closer than ever before”.

All 110,000 tickets for this year’s London live event are completely sold out, so the 360° live stream experience will be a great option for those shut out of ticket sales—or anyone around the world who might want to join in on the celebration.

BBC Taster, the broadcaster’s innovation and new ideas department, is the team behind the idea.

To get into the immersive London 2017 celebrations, the only thing you’ll need to do is log into the BBC’s website on NYE or check in on this YouTube link.  Just don’t forget about factoring in the different time zones when logging in, you don’t want to arrive late to this party! The live stream will begin at 11:50pm GMT with the main event kicking off, expectedly, at midnight.   

And the budding relationship between VR and NYE doesn’t end there. Across the pond and through the woods, The 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati is hosting an immersive end-of-year option in the form of a VR-themed party called “Momentum.” (but you’ll actually have to go to Cincinnati IRL to partake).

“(The idea came from) a desire to put on a party that has as much substance as fun, shows some hope for the future and bring together a real variety of people,” Director of Museum Operations at 21c Eli Meiners told WPCO.

21c has been acquiring VR art for its permanent collection throughout the year, so this party is a fitting display. Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites believes it’s the job of 21c to showcase the most visionary contemporary artists—and now, that includes the frontier of immersive technologies.

One work on display at the party will be Jakob Kusk Steensen’s “Primal Tourism,” a piece in which “colonialism, tourism and science fiction overlap.” In addition, 21c sought interactive work and installations from local artists including Modern Makers and IRL Gallery.

Updates about London’s New Year’s Eve Firework live stream can be found here, and information on 21c’s “Momentum,” as well as how to become a WPCO Insider, can be found here.

Image Credit: Dominic Alves

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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