VR video of Obama’s Yosemite trip only on Facebook, Gear VR

President Barack Obama wearing virtual reality headset. (Image courtesy .)

President Barack Obama wearing Gear VR headset. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)

The White House released a virtual reality video of President Barack Obama touring Yosemite National Park yesterday. Read the full announcement here.

But the experience is only available on Facebook and on the Samsung Gear VR headset, with Oculus Rift support coming soon.

Facebook owns Oculus VR which also provides content for the Samsung headset via the Oculus Experience Store for the Gear VR.

Facebook launched 360-degree videos a year ago, YouTube also supports 360-degree videos but, unlike Facebook, YouTube’s videos can be switched into virtual reality mode and viewed on any Cardboard-compatible virtual reality headset.

Facebook, with its Oculus platform, is in direct competition with Google’s Cardboard platform — now evolving into Daydream. It’s a battle for the future of virtual reality.

It is odd to see the White House picking a side in this by picking one platform and not the other for its first major virtual reality video.

But then again, the White House did post a 360-degree holiday tour last December on YouTube:

 

The Yosemite National Park video was produced in cooperation with National Geographic, Oculus Studios and Félix & Paul Studios, and was timed to coincide with the centennial of the National Park Service.

In a recent consumer survey by Greenlight VR, 74 percent of respondents said that they were interested in using VR for virtual tourism, putting it ahead of live events, education, and gaming.

 

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.