AccuWeather is releasing a virtual reality app for Gear VR, in what is either a strange novelty experiment or some remarkably dystopian social commentary.
The app is called â€œAccuWeather â€” Weather for Life,â€ and it provides two major features. The first is a library of 360-degree video for severe weather events, which will be updated weekly. The second is a service that provides current weather conditions, detailed hourly and daily forecasts, and the option to â€œuniquely experience an array of dynamic weather conditionsâ€ like storms and snowfall as they occur. AccuWeather says users can do this through daily forecasts or â€œa secret weather feature called WeatherScape.â€ As usual for Gear VR apps, itâ€™s available on recent Samsung flagship phones through the Oculus Store.
The app is free, if youâ€™ve got a Gear VR. And there are real benefits to simulating weather in virtual reality â€” Virginia Tech, for example, has used it to help researchers interact with a tornado visualization tool. An easily accessible weather widget would also be a neat addition to headset interfaces. That said, Weather for Life sounds like a parody app youâ€™d find in Black Mirror or Ready Player One, where people can pretend to go outside while wasting away in VR. After all, who needs actual rain or sunshine when youâ€™re busy â€œexperiencing weather in revolutionary new ways?â€ Until finally, as the Earth slowly floods and heats, AccuWeather will switch from live forecasts to a comforting lie: a constantly repeating loop of the weather-that-was. Our separation from reality will be complete.
The videos do sound cool, though.