One of the big selling points of virtual reality as a technology is the immersive viewing experience, especially for sports and sporting events. Many of these are already available, however, one sport is about to take the big leap to broadcasting in VR.
The National Basketball League (NBA) will be broadcasting 27 live games in virtual reality using the NextVR app for Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream. In addition to this, gamepass holders will also have access to a virtual ‘Screening Room’ where every single game will be available on demand in virtual reality and 13 games will be available to watch on a big virtual screen.
Support is also going to be coming for the Mixed Reality platform from Microsoft with support for MR headsets, however, there is no news on support for PC headsets or the PlayStation VR.
It’s not the first sport to experiment with VR. the NBA itself leapfrogged other sporting disciplines by broadcasting select live games in VR. American broadcaster Fox also has a VR app and showed the most recent NFL Super Bowl (SBLI) in a virtual reality suite. Many other broadcasters will be keeping a close eye to see how successful the move to VR sports viewing is.
From a gaming side, viewing esports in VR is relatively new. However, new technologies such as SILVER.tv will allow a director-like mode for viewing games like League of Legends and CS:GO. It will be interesting to see what kind of viewing figures will be found in VR broadcasting and what kind of options there will be for developers around these new catchment areas.