Could the sports industry be the saviour of Virtual Reality?




Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you’re likely to be bored by most of the discussions surrounding immersive technology. It’s not unkind to say that developers have been banging the virtual reality drum for a while without having anything to really show for it. Sure, there have been minor breakthroughs here and there – the emergence of high-quality headsets such as Oculus Rift, for example, has meant that we can enjoy better virtual reality experiences than ever before.

However, in the main, it’s difficult to shake a nagging feeling that we may never see the full potential of virtual reality. Thankfully, it appears that the sports industry is prepared to step up and take the virtual bull by the horns – with this in mind, could immersive sporting experience be the saviour of VR technology?

Multiple sports are benefiting from VR technology

According to a special NBC Sports feature written by Jane Zorowitz, notable college programs and renowned NFL teams are incorporating virtual reality into their practices. Virtual reality is essentially being used to increase the effectiveness of training exercises – teams can now practice their repetitions against the opponent’s upcoming offence and this is invaluable from an NFL team’s perspective. Other sports such as basketball, football and even NASCAR are also using virtual reality to enhance the experience of fans, with the latter also allowing drivers to navigate circuits which are now virtually indistinguishable from reality.

Sports Betting

Thanks to the competitiveness of the industry, sports betting is already one of the early adopters of new technology and virtual reality is no different in this regard. The NBA already offers commercial virtual reality packages that allow fans to wager on games which are unfolding right in front of their eyes. VR sportsbooks are also now commonplace in the online betting world and in addition to this, sites such as moplay.co.uk are offering other immersive sports betting experiences, including the opportunity to bet on simulated sports events which users can watch in a virtual, 3D environment. When it comes to VR technology, there’s no doubt that sports betting is once again at the forefront of innovation.

Virtual Reality Gaming Experiences

In theory, the relationship between sports related video games has unlimited potential – those who always dreamt of playing professional sports for a living will get the chance to live out their dream in a virtual arena whilst also enjoying their favourite games such as Madden or FIFA. Thanks to popular titles like BOXVR and VR Sports Challenge, headsets such as the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR have already built solid platforms for virtual reality sports gaming and there’s no doubt that this is an area which will be improved upon in the coming years.

 

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It’s now a case of wait and see

There’s no doubt about the potential that virtual and augmented reality have with regards to the sporting industry. However, the untapped potential of immersive technology has been discussed for a number of years now without bearing much fruit so it certainly seems to be a case of wait and see. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that the technology is still in its infancy and teething problems are to be expected – with the right direction and investment, virtual reality and sports can certainly strike up an extremely successful partnership in the future.




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