Sporting events are quite the spectacle and the closer you are to the action, the better. Being courtside for an NBA game or ringside for a boxing match is even seen as sign of social status at times, but virtual reality is quickly becoming the best seat in the house.
Some sporting events have taken advantage of 360-degree video to give out virtual seats, like the March Madness tournament earlier this year, but Virtually Live is taking this experience in a different direction.
We reported on the startup in April and now a Virtually Live demo can be downloaded on Steam for Oculus Rift or HTC Vice. Other sporting events that use VR utilize 360-degree cameras and give you a fairly close up view of the live action. Virtually Live sets itself apart from the pack because it virtually recreates the entire venue and the action, removing a major limitation inherent to 360-degree cameras. In an event recreated within Virtually Live, users can leave their seat, explore the stands, and even jump right into the field-of-play.
In the demonstration from the company, users can experience the Formula E races. Formula E is a championship series of races with only electric-powered cars. With the Virtually Live application, you can experience races from the perspective of the drivers and even explore the facilities where live spectators watch. While the environment is digitally recreated, the live event’s other elements can be represented as audio from broadcasters and live TV broadcasts inside the simulation. Another boost to the approach is that it could let users interact with friends and other fans in the virtual space.
This first demo is just a taste of what Virtually Live wants to bring to virtual reality. In the future there will be an app that allows you to choose multiple VLIVE events to visit and, though they can’t disclose which just yet, there are likely to be other sports represented in the app.
Update: The app is now live on Viveport.