In the lead-up to this year’s USA presidential elections, NBC News has partnered with AltspaceVR to transform the iconic Rockefeller Center Plaza into a national, political epicenter called Virtual Democracy Plaza.

Starting on September 21, 2016 NBC News and AltspaceVR will be providing in-VR programming within the AltspaceVR platform including debate watch parties, live Q&A discussions with political experts, political comedy events and more.

On the night of the event, at 6pm ET, NBC’s TODAY show co-anchor and weatherman, Al Roker, will go inside AltspaceVR to host an official ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the event.

On NBC News’ investment in Virtual Reality:

“Virtual Democracy Plaza is a first-of-its-kind use of social virtual reality for major news event coverage and direct, participatory viewer engagement. NBC News is the first major network to invest in creating a series of live events to cover the US election for an audience inside of virtual reality, and it’s a platform that allows viewers to engage directly with our talent in new ways.”

“NBC sees VR as a promising new communication medium and we want to showcase NBC News’ commitment to innovation and experimentation. Virtual reality allows the benefits of Democracy Plaza to be available to anyone, and to expand the project in ways that would not otherwise be possible. It broadens awareness of VR and provides new types of content (politics, news, information) that serve new VR market needs.”


On NBC News’ partnership with AltspaceVR:

“NBC News is working with AltspaceVR, the premiere app for interacting with others inside of virtual reality, to create the virtual reality Democracy Plaza experience. Only AltspaceVR’s FrontRow technology allows an unlimited number of participants to join a VR event simultaneously, giving each a front row seat. “This partnership with NBC is a great example of how social virtual reality allows people from around the world to come together for a shared experience,” said Eric Romo, CEO of AltspaceVR.”


How to join:

  • For the full VR experience, visitors can use Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR.
  • Users can also join via a regular desktop or laptop computer, but the experience will be “flat,” not 3D.
  • Once Virtual Democracy Plaza is open, users can go to and follow instructions on the landing page to sign up or sign in.

Visitors can check the schedule of events and RSVP in advance. Ten minutes before each event starts, users will be able to join the event.

Upcoming Virtual Democracy Plaza events:

  • September 21, 6:00 pm ET: Opening Event – ribbon cutting ceremony with Al Roker
  • September 26, 8:30 pm ET: Debate Watch Party and audience vote/after party
  • September 29, 12:30 pm ET: Ask the political expert – Q&A with Steve Kornacki
  • October 4, 8:30 pm ET: V.P. Debate Watch Party
  • October 9, 8:30 pm ET: Debate Watch Party
  • October 19, 8:30 pm ET: Debate Watch Party
  • November 8, 6:00 pm ET: Live Election Night coverage

(More events are currently being planned)


Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.