The Wall Street Journal continues to experiment with mobile experiences through the launch of the WSJ VR app on Daydream, bringing immersive storytelling to a new level. DEEP Inc. collaborated with the WSJ to build this stand-alone app implementing our proprietary software Liquid Cinema™ technology, on Google’s new ‘Daydream’ platform.
Viewers will experience the Journal’s world-class journalism on Google’s Daydream platform, built to deliver high-quality, mobile virtual reality. This App introduces new functionality created by DEEP Inc. using their Liquid Cinema™ software: branching narrative. This means while watching a 360 video the viewer can jump from story branch to story branch via gaze based hotspots and menus, essentially allowing them to control their own path through the story experience.
They can step inside a virtual room specially designed for the app and stay informed with breaking news, follow the markets with a live markets data visualization and immerse themselves in compelling narratives with interactive 360-degree videos.
“We wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible with VR, while remaining faithful to what makes The Wall Street Journal truly distinctive: outstanding financial and business journalism,” said Himesh Patel, Creative Director, Dow Jones. “Our app brings to the forefront the daily drama of the markets, told with live data and 360-degree video.”
Regarding their collaboration, DEEP Inc. Thomas Wallner shares, “We had a really great partnership with Google and the Wall Street Journal, tackling some very difficult creative and technical issues around branching narratives. I’m very pleased that the project extends our Liquid Cinema™ platform to now include Daydream and compatibility with Unity.”
The first interactive 360-degree video on the WSJ VR app tells the story of cyclist Denise Mueller who is seeking to become the fastest woman ever on a bicycle. The film follows her to the striking Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to capture her land speed record attempt. The video takes viewers along for the ride in a way that only virtual reality can. The video player’s features allow users to follow their own curiosity, whether it’s seeing Mueller’s bespoke equipment up close or flying over the surreal landscape of the flats.
“We’ve produced interactive, virtual reality storytelling that allows the Journal’s reporters and editors to take readers and viewers of our journalism anywhere in the world,” said Andy Regal, Global Head of Video, The Wall Street Journal. “With this new technology, we look forward to deepening our audience’s connections to the people behind the most compelling stories across the globe.”
Over the coming weeks, the WSJ VR app will feature new interactive 360-videos that take viewers behind the scenes to see multimillion dollar classic cars, the jungles of Colombia and the set of a hit primetime TV show. Each of these experiences will give viewers the ability to control the ways that they immerse themselves in the story.
Roger Kenny, Design Tech Lead, VR at Dow Jones, will oversee technology of the WSJ VR app. He is the company’s first employee dedicated solely to virtual reality and augmented reality platforms and was instrumental in the Journal’s launch into virtual reality last year with the award-winning 3D NASDAQ interactive. The interactive showcases a virtual reality guided tour of 21 years of the stock index. Since then, the Journal has also produced a series of 360-degree and virtual reality videos for the WSJ app on iOS and Android devices.
To bring The Wall Street Journal to life for Daydream users, the Journal partnered with VR veteran Nonny de la Pena of Emblematic Group, Thomas Wallner of DEEP Inc.’s Liquid Cinema™ as well as London-based architecture practice Michaelis Boyd Associates for the environment.
The WSJ VR app is available for download from Google Play. Users will need Daydream View, the comfortable and easy-to-use virtual reality headset and controller, and any Daydream-ready phone, such as Pixel or Pixel XL from Google.