National Geographic is working with YouTube and DayDream on its latest VR series

National Geographic and YouTube are launching a new series of virtual reality experiences starting today with a virtual exploration of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Dubbed one of the “last wild places on earth,” the virtual reality trip through Okavango is the first of three immersive experiences that National Geographic has planned with YouTube . The […]

National Geographic and YouTube are launching a new series of virtual reality experiences starting today with a virtual exploration of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Dubbed one of the “last wild places on earth,” the virtual reality trip through Okavango is the first of three immersive experiences that National Geographic has planned with YouTube .

The four-part series follows a National Geographic Society expedition as it transects the largest wetland in Southern Africa, known as one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

“Embracing immersive content continues our tradition of going further, while connecting our audiences directly with our Explorers and the stories of the world they have to share,” said Jenna Pirog, senior director of Video and Immersive Experiences at National Geographic, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to a long-term partnership with YouTube that will allow us to remain industry stewards for marrying immersive technology with impactful storytelling.”

Each five-minute episode will take viewers through the Botswanan wilderness, which is home to the largest remaining elephant population, along with lions, cheetahs, wild dogs and hundreds of species of birds.

Dr. Steve Boyes, a National Geographic fellow, makes the trip every year with a team of Angolan, Namibian and South African scientists to explore the rivers and estuaries of the ecosystem.

The VR experience is meant to complement a documentary on the Okavango that will air on Nat Geo WILD on Friday.

Available on National Geographic’s YouTube channel, website and its VR app on Google’s Daydream platform, the first episodes are available today, with subsequent experiences released on following Tuesdays. The content, which was made for VR, can also be watched on desktop and mobile.

YouTube VR finally lands on the Oculus Go

Today, Google’s YouTube VR app arrives on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing the largest library of VR content on the web to Facebook’s entry-level VR device. YouTube brings plenty of content in conventional and more immersive video types. It’s undoubtedly the biggest single hub of 360 content and native formats like VR180, though offering access […]

Today, Google’s YouTube VR app arrives on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing the largest library of VR content on the web to Facebook’s entry-level VR device.

YouTube brings plenty of content in conventional and more immersive video types. It’s undoubtedly the biggest single hub of 360 content and native formats like VR180, though offering access to the library at large is probably far more important to the Oculus platform.

One of the interesting things about Oculus’s strategy with the Go headset is that gaming turned out to be the minority use case following media consumption. If you find it hard to believe that so many people are out there binging on 360 videos it’s because they probably aren’t. Users have kind of co-opted the device’s capabilities to make it a conventional movie and TV viewing device, there are apps from Netflix and Hulu while Facebook has also built Oculus TV, a feature that’s still in its infancy but basically offers an Apple TV-like environment for watching a lot of 2D content in a social environment.

At the company’s Oculus Connect conference this past year CTO John Carmack remarked how about 70 percent of time spent by users on the Go has been watching videos with about 30 percent of user time has gone to gaming. Oculus has positioned itself as a gaming company in a lot of ways via its investments so it will be interesting to see how it grows its mobile platform to make the video aspect of its VR business more attractive.

With YouTube, the company has pretty easy access to effortlessly bringing a bunch of content onboard, this would have been a great partner for Oculus TV, but a dedicated app brings a lot to users. It wasn’t super clear whether Google was going to play hardball with the YouTube app and keep standalone access confined to its Daydream platform, as the company’s homegrown VR ambitions seem to have grown more subdued, it looks like they’ve had some time to focus on external platforms.

You can download the YouTube VR app here.