This edition of the magazine is known for its added gimmicks, causing turned heads and rolled eyes.
The Swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated has now been released and, with it, has come the brand’s attempt to jump on board with one of the hottest trends in technology at the moment: virtual reality.
The release of the magazine has arrived alongside a mobile app meant for both Android and iOS devices.
The companion app has been designed to provide photography, news, video and a virtual reality experience. If this were to be viewed exclusively through a smartphone or tablet, it would not be able to reach past the augmented reality level. However, the Sports Illustrated issue – like the VR experience previously offered by the New York Times – is dependent on a Cardboard-compatible headset. That said, these glasses aren’t being offered exclusively to subscribers. Instead, they’re being added to approximately 500,000 special versions of the newsstand edition of the Swimsuit issue.
This addition of the virtual reality glasses bumps the newsstand price up by about $2 to around $10 total.
For subscribers who want to be able to take advantage of the VR technology experience, they need to order one of the headsets for $2.99. Through the app, subscribers will be able to unlock exclusive content, as well those who have purchased this special edition of the newsstand magazine. That said, anyone else who wants to be able to access it will be required to pay an additional $4.99.
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The additional content that is unlocked through those means represents about half of what is available in the VR technology experience section of the mobile app. That specific section can be unlocked, by itself, for an additional $1.99.
Each of the virtual reality videos is a few minutes long and are designed to be viewed through any headset that uses the Google Cardboard design. For people who don’t have one of these extra gadgets, it is possible to view the content on a flat screen, such as on the mobile device. Though not nearly as immersive, it does allow users of the smartphone or tablet to move that device in order to view different parts of the image scene.