Fox Sports and Animal Planet are embracing VR with game day experiences for Google Cardboard & Gear VR.
The United States most watched television event returns this Sunday as Super Bowl LI makes its way to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. While most football buffs will no doubt be planted firmly in front of of their monstrous 60-inch TV’s, several leading providers are still experimenting with alternative types of immersive Super Bowl content to go alongside the main event. So it came as no surprise when Fox Sports recently announced its plan to provide near real-time highlights of the big game in semi-immersive virtual reality. The key word being semi.
Thanks to a partnership with LiveLike, the leading sports provider will allow users to use its official app to enter a decadent virtual suite where they’ll navigate a timeline featuring 20 exciting, near-live highlights of the game on either an impressive big screen TV or via direct wide angle video. So while you won’t be able to view the full game or experience any 360-degree video content, it’s still the best option for experiencing the Super Bowl in virtual reality. The technology involved in live streaming 360-degree content is still in its infancy, so an attempt to broadcast fully-immersive virtual reality at the world’s most-viewed television event was just a little too risky for Fox. As a result we get a VR app that would best serve as a neat little experience to pass around a Super Bowl party or to help kill time during grueling commercial breaks.
If you’re like me however your Sunday revolves around the epic battle that starts at 3pm over on Animal Planet. I’m talking of course about the highly-anticipated and adrenaline-fueled Puppy Bowl XII. The spectacle is always expected to provide jaw-dropping moments, but this year will be especially great for fans thanks to a painfully adorable 360-degree Puppy Bowl experience, available right now. Clocking in at just under a minute and a half, Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality features a practice tug-of-war match between some of the league’s most-promising canine athletes. Watching the standard TV broadcast was hard enough, but now seeing the adorable pups run around my feet in 360-degrees is almost too much to handle.