Mobile phone giant 02 is branching into VR with the launch of two virtual reality experiences.
The first is called England Rugby VR and combines 360° video with interactive CGI characters, the idea being that players will be able to experience competing against top rugby professionals.
Dylan Hartley, George Ford, Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade and Mako and Billy Vunipola were all motion captured for the game, with players tasked with tracking their movement in virtual drills that were co-developed with England Rugby.
“We really enjoyed working in partnership with O2 to develop this unique virtual reality experience,” England defence coach Paul Gustard said. “It’s the only game out there that has had input from England Rugby to create a great experience for fans.
"I hope the experience gives rugby fans and novices alike an insight in to the way we train and the amount of hard work that is involved in being an International rugby player.”
The second is called O2 Academy Venues VR. It allows users to live through a pre-performance at an O2 Academy venue as either a fan or band member and uses an interactive and switchable storytelling mechanic.
O2 head of sponsorship Gareth Griffiths added: “We believe in live, and using the latest VR technology we can showcase our live experiences to O2 customers in our stores across the country. Through a combination of world first CGI characters and unique interactive gameplay, each experience has been designed to give the user unprecedented access to O2 Academy venues, The O2 and our relationship with the England Rugby team.”
The experiences are compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. They can be sampled in 90 O2 stores across the UK or at England match days at Twickenham. They will be available to download later this year.
A third, as of yet unspecified experience, is also in development.