The Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang, South Korea have already broken a few records: the first such competition where North and South Korean athletes competed under the same flag, the first time the Russian Federation was banned from participating due to widespread doping cases. It is also the first time a major sports events has been available to the general public as a fully immersive experience thanks to virtual reality technology.
Winter Sports In VR: a Breathtaking Experience
Watching athletes go downhill on skis in the Super G competition, keeping our fingers crossed for participants in the skeleton, luge and bobsled races, will reach new heights of excitement as viewers can see the images from the participants’ perspective.
We already know how powerful virtual reality technology is in making us believe we are in a fantastical or dystopian world, fighting evolved robots and aliens, or discovering new landscapes and magical creatures. We also know how ancient history comes to vivid life with the help of this breakthrough technology. Now it is time to experience sports not just as spectators, but as actual participants in various events and races.
Intel® True VR: Virtual Reality Technology Meets Top Level Sports Events
Everyone knows the Intel brand name as top manufacturers of computer processors. But the company has not limited its capacities of innovation to this range of products. Like many other tech companies, it could not resist the temptation to make a contribution to the development of virtual reality technology.
The most recent result of these efforts is Intel’s True VR platform, which delivers immersive sports content. The PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games was an excellent opportunity for Intel True VR to demonstrate its capacity to broadcast sports like never before.
“Really what we’re doing around [this] experience is not trying to take television and put it into VR, and we’re not only trying to transport the fan to be at the event. We’re creating an entirely new way for fans to experience the virtual world,” David Aufhauser, the Managing Director of Intel Sports, told TechRadar.
A World of Possibilities Opens Up for Sports Broadcasts
Intel is working with the Olympic Broadcast Services for this breakthrough manner of allowing winter sports fans to enjoy this event. Through this partnership, Intel will record 30 events in VR and will broadcast them both in the US and in Europe.
It is likely that this first attempt will be followed by many others, expanding VR broadcasting to other popular sports. Just like with every aspect of our lives, virtual reality technology will also change the way we watch and enjoy sports, turning it into a much more exciting experience.
Some of the winter sports events to get the virtual reality treatment are: alpine skiing, snowboard, figure skating, ski jumping and ice hockey. The live events are broadcast in the US by NBC–see the full schedule here–in Europe by Eurosport and in Canada by CBC.
The Intel True VR platform can be downloaded on the Oculus Store. It works with the following devices: Google Cardboard, Google Daydream View, Samsung Gear VR and various Windows Head Mounted Display headsets.