O2 unveils new VR experiences

16 Mar 2017

By: Sport Industry Group

O2 has launched a series of new virtual reality experiences and, for the first time, O2 customers and fans will have the chance to go head to head against the England rugby team or explore an O2 Academy venue as a star or a fan.

A third experience showcasing some of the biggest moments at music and entertainment venue, The O2, will also be coming soon.

Compatible with multiple VR platforms including Samsung Gear VR Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the experiences will also be available to try in 90 O2 stores nationwide as well as at Twickenham on matchdays, at The O2, and available to download later this year.

The content features a combination of real-life 360°-video combined with interactive CGI characters. The latest activation follows on from the first ever Oculus Rift sports experience created by O2 in 2014.

The interactive experience uses Xsense motion capture to provide in-game player movement, taking cues from England Rugby players’ weight, mass and average speeds to ensure their character’s movements are as realistic as possible. Dylan Hartley, George Ford, Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade as well as Mako and Billy Vunipola were all motioned capped and feature in the experience. 

VR players are then challenged to track the player’s movements (and those of the ball) and take part in virtual drills developed in partnership with England Rugby. The interactive, points based drills range from scrummaging to tackling to kicking with the ultimate aim of being selected to wear the rose.

Paul Gustard, defence coach at England Rugby said: “We really enjoyed working in partnership with O2 to develop this unique virtual reality experience. It’s the only game out there that has had input from England Rugby to create a great experience for fans. I hope the experience gives rugby fans and novices alike an insight in to the way we train and the amount of hard work that is involved in being an International rugby player.”

Gareth Griffiths, head of sponsorship at O2 added: “We believe in live, and using the latest VR technology we can showcase our live experiences to O2 customers in our stores across the country. Through a combination of world first CGI characters and unique interactive gameplay, each experience has been designed to give the user unprecedented access to O2 Academy venues, The O2 and our relationship with the England Rugby team. We’re excited to roll our new virtual reality in to O2 stores nationwide, Twickenham Stadium on match days and The O2.”

In addition, users will be able to live through a pre-performance at an O2 Academy venue as either a music fan or a member of a band. Using a switchable storytelling mechanic, users can swap between the music fan and band perspectives.