Published On: Thu, Jun 29th, 2017

How virtual reality and augmented reality are creating realistic sports

While virtual reality allows users to encounter a location without physically being there, augmented reality enables them to interact with electronic information in their particular atmosphere.

Can a true-blooded fan give up the excitement of watching an international cricket game from the stands too, instead, put on a virtual reality (VR) headset and then observe it in the comfort of his home with beer and chips in hand?

This could be disregarded as a normal advertising campaign ahead of a major sporting event, however, there is an increasing push towards improving the broadcast experience and training methods using AR and VR–buzzwords that have been gaining momentum almost 50 years since American scientist Ivan Sutherland first showcased VR using a headset.

Whilst VR enables users to experience a place without physically being there, AR allows them to interact with digital data in their atmosphere.

It’s Present time, people

Last year, when Pokémon Go had people rushing into walls while pursuing imaginary beings using AR, it wasn’t real game but it didn’t provide a glimpse of possibilities that are now taking shape within the area of sport.

During the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this past year, broadcasters BBC in the UK and NBC from the US provided access to reside along with on-demand VR reporting–since it is in experimental stages, the events were not streamed until the following day.  Before that, Leicester City’s sudden success in the English Premier League football was put with broadcaster Sky Sports by Surround Vision, a UK VR company, which placed viewers in the middle of a parade.

But can viewers bite?

The simple fact is that 360° cameras are being used to stream sporting events in VR to assist sports enthusiasts–using a VR headset and an app–to experience being in the stadium, looking about, and soaking in the sounds and sights.  With increasing distances, traveling that is cumbersome, jostling for space, and also weather conditions in countries such as India, it’s sometimes nicer to be at a sweaty arena.  Technologies like AR and VR also allow athletes to “trip” stadiums, locker rooms and grounds for the immersive, conditioning encounter–without leaving their residence.

However, the reason sports fans spend tens of thousands of rupees and lots of hours from queues in stadiums is because they want that immersive experience that’s unique to game. The combined anticipation of a brand new batsman walking on, the hush when a wicket falls and the roar of a border, friends’ shared bonhomie–these will be missing in the VR experience which is more solitary in nature.

Broadcasters, however, are continuing to invest in such technologies and also think they could monetize this too.  Renting tickets, for instance, would lend since all a league’s or a group’s fans.

He said the obstacles in India are high since the technology needs to be embraced by a base amount of people to allow it to be sustainable.  Equipment is expensive and the technology is evolving so fast that it renders a good deal of materials obsolete quickly, said Dutta, who has been employed in the area for more than ten years.

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