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The Huffington Post Steps Into Virtual Reality

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RYOT staff at work on a virtual reality production at their offices in Los Angeles, California on August 18, 2015. The Los Angeles-based news site, is helping people step virtually into disaster zones with a 360 degree view.Mark Ralston — AFP/Getty Images

Virtual reality has taken on classrooms, amusement parks, and even Ikea kitchens. Now, it’s coming to The Huffington Post.

Verizon-owned AOL announced plans to buy up the Los Angeles-based virtual reality media company RYOT on Wednesday. This means RYOT’s documentary filmmaking team can now bring 360-degree video and VR content to The Huffington Post—also owned by AOL—through a “VR news network.”

“The Huffington Post is continuing to reimagine journalism as we move into the next generation of dynamic storytelling,” wrote Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Post, in a statement.

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The online news site already worked with RYOT on a virtual reality video project about the refugee crisis in Greece, “combining technology and storytelling to put flesh and blood on a human crisis that, for far too many around the world, had become an abstraction,” Huffington highlighted.

Terms of AOL’s acquisition deal with RYOT were not disclosed.

Virtual reality is still an industry in its infancy. Facebook-owned Oculus just debuted its much-anticipated Rift headset earlier this year, followed shortly by the HTC Vive. Sony’s Playstation VR will launch in the fall.

But virtual reality isn’t all about the headsets and the fancy gaming systems.

Virtual reality was the hottest trend at SXSW 2016. Watch:

RYOT has also partnered with the Associated Press and the New York Times, which sent out 1.3 million Google Cardboard VR modules to newspaper subscribers last year so they could watch the stories of refugee children on their smartphones and tablets.

Meanwhile, Facebook has made no secret of the social network’s plans to take on the world of VR, recently unveiling a new 360-degree camera to shoot 3D images as part of the company’s 10-year plan to build out virtual reality capabilities.

While media companies, consumers, and Silicon Valley execs are all still getting comfortable with this new virtual world, experts predict the VR industry could be poised to grow into as much as a $10 billion industry by 2020.