The New York Times Company (NYT) announced it is working on a virtual reality partnership with Google, having created an app in conjunction with specialist studio IM360.

Compatible with iOS 8+ and Android 4.3+, the app is called NYT VR and supports virtual reality playback for Google Cardboard as well as playback of 360-degree video for mobile touchscreen navigation.

The app is free and will be available for download in the Google Play and iOS App Stores from 5 November.

NYT wil also distribute around one million Google Cardboard viewers, which enables VR for anyone with a compatible smartphone, to home delivery subscribers the weekend after the launch.

The debut NYT VR film is called “The Displaced” and will allow readers to experience what it means to be a child caught in the global refugee crisis.

Sponsors GE and Mini will also create virtual reality films.

“The power of virtual reality is that it gives the viewer a unique sense of empathic connection to people and events,” said Jake Silverstein, editor in chief of NYT Magazine.

NYT said users without Cardboard viewers can also download the app for an “enhanced video experience that opens a window into the virtual reality environment”.