DUBAI – Millions of viewers, from every continent on Earth, tuned in virtually to witness Expo 2020 Dubai’s Opening Ceremony, as more than three million people globally accessed the contents and experienced the newly developed interactive online platform VirtualExpo.world in the first 24 hours after it was launched to the world.
Enhancing the experience of Expo 2020, and bringing the thrill of the event to any connected device, anywhere in the world, at any time, VirtualExpo.world offers new ways to discover the first World Expo in the Arab world. As Dubai brings the world to Expo 2020, Virtual Expo takes Expo 2020 to the world – and as Dubai welcomes 192 participating countries, people from those nations will be able to witness Expo 2020 from all over the planet.
Building on a promise made in 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that Expo 2020 Dubai would deliver the most advanced digital experience for a World Expo ever, Virtual Expo is an exciting representation of the physical event, which visitors can easily access and interact with away from the site.
Features include immersive 360-degree videos of country and thematic pavilions, viewings of live entertainment, audio guides and podcasts, children’s animatics video tour, gaming through Minecraft and live interactive tours on Twitch platforms.
Pavilions can be explored virtually from the convenience of a laptop, tablet or smartphone, with the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony transformed into interactive Minecraft experiences, while a dedicated Expo 2020 Dubai Minecraft: Education Edition features lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms, presenting a deeper dive into the event’s themes and subthemes through immersive play.
Rehan Asad, Chief Programme Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai offers the most innovative digital, virtual and augmented Expo experience, and the concept of virtual visitation, for the first time at a World Expo. We are committed to honouring the promise of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and delivering the best virtual Expo experience to millions of people around the world. Last night’s global audience from every continent on Earth, who tuned in and experienced the breath-taking Opening Ceremony online, powerfully shows how committed we are delivering on this.
“The Virtual Expo goes beyond the digital representations of the site and pavilions, allowing visitors toconnect and create, interact and engage with Expo 2020 content, experiencing it in a way that best suits them, from any device, anywhere in the world.”
Virtual visitors to Expo can access online content now, with an expanded, more immersive version launching in the following weeks. Thursday’s Opening Ceremony was broadcast live on VirtualExpo.world, and a multiplayer Minecraft experience will allow users to ‘attend’ the showcase as avatars, enjoy fireworks synchronised to Expo 2020 music, and engage in custom gameplay that will have them jumping through time-travel portals to experience past World Expos.
Virtual Expo is also offering Live@Expo interactive tours, with a physical guide on site, allowing groups to collectively watch through their devices and decide where they want to go and what they want to see. The tours have a gaming element, with users able to earn points and improve their place on a leaderboard.
There are also two Virtual Expo apps, available for iOS and Android platforms. The official Expo app for on-site visitors has augmented-reality experiences, such as treasure hunts and digital installations, while the off-site Xplorer app presents Expo as an explorable virtual world, capturing all of the fun and excitement of the physical event.