XR & Immersive Journalism

Dreaming of a VR Christmas: Fader Project and Network of Media Enthusiasts Launch Immersive Advent Calendar

Update 13/12: To make sure #VRcalendar still runs on standard mobile devices and with slower internet connections, we decided to split it. There are now two parts (= two different links) with 12 windows each:
Part 1 covers December 1st–12th (original link).
Part 2 covers December 13th–24th (new link).

In the scope of the DNI project "Fader", partners Vragments, DW Innovation, Euronews, and numerous members of the international VR community, most notably VR/AR expo organizers DIGILITY, launch their first VR/360 advent calendar today. The experimental Xmas experience will eventually feature 24 immersive stories/scenes and can be viewed on a wide range of devices**.**

If you're based in a country substantially influenced by Christian (especially Lutheran) culture, chances are you'll come across an advent calendar soon, for example at your daughter's kindergarten, in your neighbor's kitchen, or in your colleague's office. 'Tis the season again, and a lot of people are really keen on the accessory, even if it's standard-issue. But before we go any further:

If you're based in a country where Christian culture is only a footnote, chances are you don't even know what an advent calendar is. So: It's a special calendar that is often rectangular, made of printed cardboard (we're not talking about the VR device here) and decorated with 24 "windows" that will help you count down to Xmas. Well, you actually count up from December 1st to December 24th–which is considered the birthday of Jesus Christ (advent means arrival). Behind every window, the manufacturer of the calendar has hidden an Xmas-related item. In this day and age, it's often a chocolate, a Star Wars toy, or a can of beer–to minimize the risk of the calendar owner forgetting to open a window every morning for some three and a half weeks.

Now that everybody is on the same page, we'd like to present our very own and pretty innovative advent calendar. It's web-based, and it holds something far better than candies or toys or drinks brewed from cereal grains: We've decided to give you short VR stories/360 scenes created by an international community of journalists, media, and tech people.

On December 1st, we start with an intro scene (a forest, classic imagery) and the first window. On December 2nd, we'll add another one. And so on. Come Xmas, we'll have a collection of 24 special VR moments curated in an easy-to-share container.

The container is a Fader story that will run on:

  • the Oculus Rift (use Firefox with WebVR)
  • most up-to-date Android phones (use your Chrome browser, look through the magic window or put the phone into a cardboard-compatible device to go fully immersive)
  • most up-to-date iPhones (use Safari/magic window)
  • most up-to-date desktop computers (use Chrome/WebVR; navigate with our your trackpad or mouse)

You can easily share the advent calendar Fader story via Facebook, Twitter or email:
It's a unique link that won't change (but will have updated content every day).

We have also embedded the story here:

We hope you’ll enjoy our immersive advent experiment — and let others know about it. (#VRcalendar).

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