Virtual reality (VR) is one of the big breakout trends of 2016, with countless headsets, viewers, and related shenanigans coming to the fore. So it comes as little surprise that omnipresent blogging service WordPress.com is now embracing it.
WordPress (including the hosted “.com” service and the open source software that can be downloaded from WordPress.org) now powers one-quarter of all websites. And from today, creators on the hosted WordPress.com service can create, upload, and publish their own VR content, kicking off with 360° photos, while 360° videos is also being made available in beta. To enable this, you upload VR content as you normally would, then select whether you want to display the content in 360° or cinema (panorama) mode, and publish it using the VR shotcode:.
For many, 360° content is more akin to “interactive media,” and isn’t VR in its purest form — but when consumed through a VR headset, rather than through a static screen, 360° does constitute an immersive experience.
“Our goal is to make publishing VR content as simple as publishing text or photos to the web — just add VR content to your site and anyone with a web browser can instantly enjoy it,” explained Toni Schneider, team lead (and former CEO) at Automattic, in a blog post.
Though you can drag and interact with photos and videos in a standard desktop browser, it is actually best viewed from a smartphone browser, with your smartphone placed inside a headset / viewer such as a Samsung Gear or Google Cardboard.