The Economist VR, Visualise develops new VR app for publisher’s immersive content

By Kathy Boyce November 17, 2016

The Economist partners with Visualise on new VR app

As part of The Economist’s commitment to make their content accessible in all digital formats and following their experiment with immersive content, we’ve developed a dedicated VR app for the publisher.  

The Economist VR app currently hosts three immersive experiences, including two of our collaborations – the award-winning RecoVR Mosul: a collective reconstruction and new travel companion VR film, Passport: Osaka; and Oceans VR: Net Positive, with US studio Object Normal.

Following a recent trend of traditional media publications releasing apps, The Economist VR was designed to showcase the best VR design and thinking in the industry. Visualise collaborated with product design studio Kickpush who brought in their cutting-edge UX design approach. The in-house team of developers took these design concepts and brought them to life in the virtual space.


“The biggest design challenge was creating both a mobile and cardboard app as well as a full 360° menu system for the Gear VR version of the app. These both have very individual designs which had to fluidly communicate a design standard throughout both finished products. The collaboration between the design and development team allowed the project to be built upon design solutions to technical issues.”

Will McMaster, Head of VR at Visualise

We’re very proud that the VR app has already gained recognition and was listed in The Guardian’s top 10 Gear VR apps and featured in the Gear VR store.

Key features of the app include the ability to download the HD/4K video and playback, HD streaming, social share options all beautifully designed with the Economist signature flowing throughout.

The Economist VR app represents another big step forward for the VR industry. Having a major high quality publication like The Economist launch a dedicated VR app shows just how seriously large media organisations are thinking about VR.

“ The Economist has been exploring virtual reality capabilities since 2015 through our Media Lab. We launched the "RecoVR:Mosul" experience shortly after, and, with the help of Visualise, developed an Economist VR app where our audience can experience our current and upcoming films. VR offers enormous potential for journalism and storytelling, and we're excited to bring The Economist's unique voice to this rapidly-evolving medium.”

Frank Andrejasich, Product Manager and Associate Director of The Economist Media Lab

Learn more about the immersive videos on the The Economist VR app:

RecoVR: Mosul, a collective reconstruction

Take a tour of the Mosul Museum in Iraq, destroyed by militants from Islamic State but now recreated in virtual reality. Examine lost artefacts reconstructed by Rekrei, a heritage project dedicated to restoring cultural heritage through photogrammetry and 3D modelling. “RecoVR: Mosul” was developed by The Economist Media Lab, with additional VR production from Visualise. RecoVR has won the jury prize for innovation at the 2016 British Interactive Media Awards and Best use of VR at The Drum’s Dadi Awards.

Read our case study

Passport: Osaka

Bright lights, bath-houses and seafood markets — take a tour of the Japanese city of Osaka with a local who can show you the city’s best-kept secrets. This 360° experience accompanies the Osaka episode of the “Passport” series by Economist Films.

Read our case study

Oceans VR: Net positive

Explore the case for limiting fishing on the high seas, examining things from the viewpoint of diner, fish, fisherman and policymaker. By taking you inside the argument, we hope to give you a new perspective on this serious issue. “Oceans VR: Net positive” was produced by The Economist Media Lab with Object Normal, and was featured in the Convergence programme at the 54th New York Film Festival.

The VR app is available to download on iTunes for the iPhone,on Google Play for Android mobiles and in Gear VR on the Oculus Store.





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