Daydream Nails Wall Street & Fantastic Beasts

Daydream Nails Wall Street & Fantastic Beasts
November 22, 2016

The virtual reality headset has been (one of) my go-to party tricks in recent months


Whenever I've found a group of placid party-goers, I whip the crumpled piece of cardboard from my handbag and invite them to experience a sickening rollercoaster ride, swim with a shark or marvel at the New York Timesharrowing coverage of the Fight for Fallujah in Iraq.


So far the Cardboard has garnered lively discussions about technology and the future, a lecture on the porn industry's role in VR development and one guy was so excited, he let me finish his beer. 


But the cardboard headset itself was becoming a dank, shadow of its former self and becoming quite difficult to see through. 

From your New York apartment, read the news.


Enter the Google Daydream, previously reviewed by my colleagues at the Digital Life Labs, and its slew of exquisitely produced applications stepping up the VR game for us mere mortals.


Now that I've upgraded from my ratty Google cardboard headset (now unfortunately smeared with make-up and forehead sweat) I'm perusing what's on offer on the new Google Daydream. 


And while the magical Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them app has me utterly floored and convinced I am a witch of epic proportions, oh man the Wall Street Journal is on the money too. 


It has developed an uber-slick app that has you convinced you're hunting elephants and are the Biggest Swinging Donkey in town. 


Once you place the grey, pyjama-looking headset over your eyes, you find yourself in what apparently is your tasteful New York City apartment. 


Obviously, it's your apartment if you were a 30-something, unattached investment banker with a penchant for minimalist, Danish furniture. Which for that moment, while I was taking in the outrageous skyline view on a gorgeous summer's day, I definitely was.


After you've satisfied your nerves that Patrick Bateman isn't about to spring out from behind the couch, you turn your attention to the wall where the entire Wall Street Journal newspaper is spread out. 


Using your remote you can point at the different articles, which spring out of the wall, complete with interactive charts and videos. The Journal has developed a few entirely VR stories and they're available in one of the sections.


One of the more impressive graphics feature, if you're into stock charts and you know, the minute fluctuations in overall market sentiment driven mostly by the often irrational greed or fear of volatile investors, then look at the coffee table!  


The US sharemarket is split up into each sector, spread out as if they were the sections of the newspaper. And as you run your pointer over the page, company stock prices, highlighted either red or green, rise up giving the appearance of a three-dimensional stock-city. 


When you click on a stock, the company information and any recent news appears and sitting on your uber-chic couch, you can begin reading the news of your investments of the day. 

It's an incredibly slick product and rather perfectly targets the Wall Street Journal reader. 


It's simple enough that there aren't an outrageous amount of moving parts but the layout is so pretty that it's quite easy to sit there reading news until the phone in your Day Dream headset is burning hot from churning out the VR content. 


Unfortunately, I was unequivocally shunned by aforementioned party-goers over the weekend as I enthusiastically spouted the merits of the Wall Street Journal app. But those same party people are in for a real treat when I've finished casting spells in the Fantastic Beasts app and can recite all the new magical animals at will.

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