The potential application of Virtual Reality is still being explored in several industries. Game Developers, Movie Studios and even Real estate vendors are looking into the potential of fully immersive technology to push their brands. Now, it appears that sports might be the next in line to benefit. STRIVR Labs, founded by former American Footballer and Stanford Alumni Derek Belch, has been looking into the practical value of VR in sports.
STRIVR and the changing nature of sports
Back Channel recently published a long piece looking into the potential impact of VR on sports, both for spectators and athletes. The beginning, which can be read here, looks at the experience itself. At first glance, it would appear that STRIVR is only providing a slightly more immersive version of Madden. However, Belch’s main reason for starting his company is to help with training athletes for their upcoming games.
STRIVR already has a slew of recommendations and endorsements from a number of American football teams. However, there is still a long way to go with Virtual Reality in sports, and even Belch believes this to be the case. “Everyone is so enamored with VR,” he says in the interview with Back Channel.
“The idea that people could just sit on their couch and feel like they’re at the game, it’s just not the reality now. It’s not ready. It’s not good enough. It will get there, but people are really hoping for it. It’s a sexy notion.”
The future of sports VR
STRIVR is making headway, but they are not the only startups looking at the benefits of bringing sports to VR. NextVR, a VR streaming service, has received over $30million from Comcast and Time Warner. Likewise Jaunt, which develops 360 cameras and video, has backing from Disney to the tune of $65million. Both of these start-ups are looking to bring VR to sports. If these develops are enough to get sports fans to adopt VR, it is more likely that VR will gain mass appeal.