Are XR Sports The Future?

The pandemic has shown us the business opportunities for new and emerging technologies....
Are XR Sports The Future?
Written by Brian Wallace
  • The pandemic has shown us the business opportunities for new and emerging technologies, and even technologies typically thought of as gaming tech can have legitimate business uses and opportunities. Virtual and augmented reality technologies have given people the ability to travel, learn, and do business in a unique way throughout the pandemic, and now these technologies are converging in a new way to form extended reality, or XR technology.

    Extended reality is a way to describe the mixed reality platforms that are gaining popularity. These platforms can be used for work, travel, and exercise. For work, Frame allows users to host meetings in a virtual space with as many as 20 participants for a more realistic-feeling meeting experience. Oculus Quest allows users to travel virtually, visiting such landmarks as Chernobyl, Machu Picchu, Antarctica, and even ancient cities as they once were. 

    When it comes to sports, extended reality is generating even more realistic experiences for users. This is important especially now during the pandemic when people are stuck at home and unable to play their typical competitive sports. The WHO has urged people to get physical activity on a daily basis, which seems to grow more difficult as the pandemic wears on.

    Extended reality sports include things like mountain climbing, golf, tennis, and more. To make the play seem more realistic, real sporting equipment is used and is outfitted with sensors that allow the player to experience the game as it is intended to be experienced.

    This technology is presenting brand new business opportunities, as well. The popularity of such gaming platforms is growing, and by 2023 the market for extended reality is expected to reach $18 billion.

    Increasingly Americans are being forced to take part in activities at home, but even before the pandemic they were choosing to spend more time at home than previous generations. This has booted demand for XR sports, as it gives people an opportunity to take part in communal physical activities from the safety of their own homes.

    This technology uses motion tracking, artificial intelligence, and biomechanical modeling to achieve realistic gameplay. Sensors on sporting equipment coupled with sensors watching or on the user track movements to simulate their part in the gameplay. Machine learning adapts to a player to present more realistic competition.

    The possibilities for this technology are endless. In the real world, gaming centers are starting to pop up using this technology. Golf simulators and tennis simulators are some of the most popular and prevalent, and eventually there will be several different kinds of virtual sports offerings. 

    Players will be able to enter a socially distanced pod and play a realistic version of their favorite competitive sport using real sports equipment. Competition happens virtually online and leaderboards keep track of who is performing the best and where they are located.

    Gameplay is realistic as is the feel of competition, something that is currently missing in many  home-based virtual reality games. As this technology progresses, the possibilities are endless. Learn more about the future of XR sports from the infographic below.

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