Chess Championship Will Stream Live In Virtual Reality

by Charles Singletary • September 13th, 2016

Companies are definitely recognizing virtual reality as an interesting commodity for sports coverage, taking advantage of 360-degree videos for extreme sports and even broadcasting tennis highlights in VR. Taking it another major step forward, the World Chess Championship Match will be broadcasting their sport in 360-degree Virtual Reality entirely live. Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Sergey Karjakin of Russia will go head to head in New York’s Fulton Market, but will be broadcast exclusively on Worldchess.com. Those who wish to view in VR will be able to do so using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer or select VR headsets.

The live 360-degree show will have perspectives from both participants and takes place in a sound-proof auditorium. While having a close up view of the match at hand, VR users should be able to turn and take in the entirety of the arena. This visual experience isn’t limited to seeing the players in action, though. There will be interactive chess features like a chess analysis engine, move predictor, commentary in multiple languages, detailed game stats, and a live chat bringing fans together. One could wonder if attendees in person are getting the premium experience over VR users watching a in-depth broadcast from the comfort of their own homes, but both surely have their own appeal.

The World Chess Championship comes to New York on November 11th-30th. For VR, it costs $15 to gain access to all 12 rounds or $1.25 per game. Tickets to attend the venue in New York are not yet available, but will go on sale on Ticketmaster soon. There’s a Season Unlimited VR pass for future events such as Grand Prix 2017, Blitz and Rapid Championship 2017, and World Championship 2018 broadcasts. Finally there’s a premium package that includes the unlimited benefits and a gift box including the official World Chess VR headset, collectible player portrait pins, championship logo tote, and a limited edition poster.

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