TV BROADCASTER Sky is dipping its toes into virtual reality (VR) with the announcement of a VR-focused production unit.
The aptly named Sky VR Studio will mark the first move by a major broadcaster to push into the immersive world of VR content. It will see the broadcasting behemoth produce VR videos for Facebook’s 360-degree content platform. If nothing else it will give users something new to ‘like’.
Sky's first VR output will be two films shot during the Formula One testing in Barcelona, which will give motor racing fans the chance to experience what it’s like in the pit lane and F1 garages without tearing themselves from the sofa.
The VR videos will be made available for Facebook’s Oculus platform and Samsung’s Gear VR headset, which is also stuffed with Oculus Rift-derived tech. Later this year Sky will make its VR stuff available in a convenient dedicated VR app.
Sky will also be creating cinematic VR content as well; some 20 individual films, if the company’s boast is to be believed. These will range from immersive video of major cultural events to big sporting occasions. We’re relieved it will bypass 2016's Rugby 6 Nations, as we don’t fancy being immersed in the thighs of a hairy fullback during a particularly gnarly scrum.
Gary Davey, managing director of content at Sky, said some waffle about VR transporting viewers to extraordinary places, but also indicated Sky will work with some broadcasting and tech buddies to get its foot in the VR door.
"This is just the start and we’re looking forward to creating more amazing VR content and exploring the possibilities with our tech and content partner," he said.
We reckon it would take some persuading to get people to watch sport using an Oculus Rift strapped on their heads, instead of sitting at a sticky wooden table in a sweaty pub screaming at a TV while swilling a pint of warm larger. But then there’s always that one early tech adopter; we’re looking at you, Mr Merriman.
That being said, Sky might be a bit late to the VR party, given Netflix has stolen its seat by pushing ahead with its own VR app, and Amazon is looking to hire fresh coding meat to do some mysterious VR thingy. We’re happy to take a back row seat and watch the VR shit kick-off. µ
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