Back in November, The New York Times teamed up with Google to include more than a million Google Cardboard headsets to subscribers of the Sunday newspaper delivery.
It was a massive giveaway of Cardboard headsets then and is still considered today as well. The distribution coincided with the launch of the “NYT VR” app, which debuted with “The Displaced,” a VR film chronicling the resilience of three children uprooted by war.
An entirely new group of consumers were introduced to Google Cardboard for the first time last year and now they’re doing it again – this time for online-only subscribers.
Next month, the Times will send out 300,000 Google Cardboard headsets to some of its “most loyal” digital customers, based on subscription length, reaching a third of the paper’s digital-only subscribers.
The Cardboard surprise in the mail will coincide with the May 19th release of the Times’ eighth VR production: Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart, letting you soar over and stand on the surface of Mars. According to The Verge, visualization of the red planet is based on data collected from the New Horizons spacecraft.
Logistically shipping 300,000 headsets to digital subscribers may prove to be more difficult compared to a million print subscribers already expecting home delivery, but the Times states they will send to whatever address they have on file.
Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart is the first New York Times production to use computer-generated images instead of live action video that we have grown familiar with from all past VR journalism pieces.
The NYT VR app, which is free and available for download in the Google Play and iOS App Stores. The app now supports video streaming. The NYT VR app has had more than 600,000 downloads since it debuted in November 2015.