Virtual reality has a peculiar reputation in the tech world. It has a very small amount of users at this point, but it manages to capture the headlines of major tech magazines and blogs. And the concept is fascinating.
With VR, people are able to be a part of a virtual world and have a very immersive experience. However, there are certain limitations to this experience. The best VR consoles on the market are very pricy and bulky. Additionally, the performance of these consoles usually doesn’t meet the expectations of the consumers. Just imagine spending several thousands of dollars to put a heavy box with relatively low resolutions around your head. It sucks, right? Here’s the good news: several major companies are developing VR technology to make it more accessible to the public. In other words, they are trying to make low-cost, lightweight VR machines that can give users a moderate performance.
Samsung is the company to take the first step. The NBA has partnered with TunerSports and NextVR to introduce a new streaming service, exclusively on Samsung’s VR machines. As the NBA season gets started, Samsung has set up courtside cameras in various games. Next time you spot weird-looking cameras with multiple lenses during a game, you can tell your friends all about virtual reality technology.
The first game streamed on VR was the season opener, the Golden State Warriors vs. the New Orleans Pelicans. Samsung set the VR camera in the front row, which means the VR users could see their favorite players right in front of them. The Samsung VR machine, built by both Samsung and Oculus, has a built-in motion sensor that can capture the movement of your head. As you turn your head from left to right, your view in the VR machine changes accordingly.
Jeff Marsilio, vice president of global media for the NBA, told USA Today on Tuesday, “You look to the left, and see a basket. You look to the right and see a basket. You look to the ground, and see the court. It feels like you’re in the game.”
Despite the excitement of new technology, I still don’t recommend people use this service. VR is just starting to capture the attention of mainstream media. Maybe people are overlooking what VR really is. Even with the front-row viewing experience, it still doesn’t replace the excitement of going to the game. Also, it’s easy to get bored after a while because the position of the camera is fixed, and you can’t switch to other views. Broadcasted games don’t set cameras on courtside for a reason — to give fans a better, comprehensive view of what’s happening on the court.
There’s definitely a bright future for VR, and it will certainly be implemented into our lives eventually. However, VR is still in its testing phase, and it is not as developed as people think. With all the hype, people are spending excessive amounts of money for a premature product. As major tech companies spend more time with VR, I see this technology having a big impact in the future.