This is the first of a series of articles we’ll be releasing every week identifying key growth segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality sector – our concept of the week. This post explains streaming live sports into virtual reality devices.
First, let’s lay out what we mean by VR Sports Streaming in simple terms (and we’ll try to make this as simple as possible!)…..
A virtual reality device (headset) enables the wearer to be placed into a stereoscopic virtual world. This means they can look around the world (the view) with head movements. This sense of immersion creates the experience of ‘being there’, from the perspectives of feeling closer to the action and having the ability to decide where to look.
Relating this specifically to sports, the key difference between watching sports on a TV and experiencing sports via VR is the immersion. Watching sports on TV is always a passive experience – you can only watch what the cameraman and directors decide you’re going to watch – it’s a fixed view.
With VR, you have much greater control over what you see. If you want to look to the left, when the play is moving to the right, you can. And, depending on the position of the camera feeding the streamed image, rather than viewing a game from a high fixed camera angle, you potentially get to experience the action much closer to where it’s taking place.
We expect the sports streaming segment to be a key new genre for consumer VR and importantly, we expect this genre to be highly monetisable as consumers (read fans) show a willingness to pay for new premium content. Our latest market analysis for the VR sector (the VR Radar) identifies initial sporting concepts to come to market later this year, with further adoption into 2015. This is shown in the chart above right.
Let’s drill-down a little more into how sports streaming could actually work with some specific applications.
Firstly, there are already companies making early moves in this space. Next3D, an Atlanta-based co positions itself as a ‘Leader in stereoscopic 3D technology with more than 35 years of combined experience in media, content production, and stereoscopic delivery and display’.
They’re developing a product called ‘Full Court’ that leverages 180 degree fisheye and 4K cameras positioned at sporting events. The 180 degree viewing range thus allows people to feel immersed into the event. Here’s a YouTube video of the Next3D founders being interview recently at CES by Road to VR.
Secondly, we expect sports streaming to also take place on a more intimate basis, as an output from LifeLogging technologies. LifeLogging refers to the capture of real-time audio and video via camera devices. The visual below left expains further.
Relating this back to sports, a person could be sitting on the front row of a basketball match, the directors box at a Champions League final or simply just somewhere in a stadium. In a way, the wearer/owner of the LifeLogging device is the context creator, cameraman and director all rolled into one.
Using virtual reality technology, the input could be processed and provided as an output, i.e. the VR device becomes the display unit for what the LifeLogger is recording.
And it doesn’t stop there – imagine a LifeLogging device being attached to the helmet of a quarterback or a racing driver. As per our Radar chart analysis, we expect the personal LifeLogging of sporting events to occur from late 2015 / early 2016.
The sporting sector, along with 11 other key segments for consumer VR adoption are explained in our latest State of the Market report.
Order the State of the Market Report for Consumer Virtual Reality.
Slideshare presentation for the Virtual Reality Radar chart.
Order the high-res full version of Virtual Reality Radar Chart.