As we all know, Virtual Sports is very different to Virtual Reality but could the gap between the two similarly named, but very different technologies soon be about to close? Well, there is a possibility for that to happen and that is all thanks to a new patent that has been lodged by Sony in the last few weeks.
At first glance, the new patent seems aimed more at owners of PlayStation 4’s VR headset having a greater opportunity to use their investment, but it doesn’t take too great a leap from the initial patent design to see how eventually, this type of technology and software could be used in a number of other ways, one such example being the area of esports betting, or indeed Virtual Esports Betting.
Before clarifiying what we mean by that, let’s first explore what the new patent from Sony actually is and how it could be used for its original intended purpose.
Sony’s New Patent
Sony did not give their new patent a simple name, but instead called it “Spectator View into an Interactive Gaming World Showcased in a Live Event Held in a Real-World Venue” which is certainly not as catchy as PS4 or PSVR but as with most patents, the devil is in the detail and what detail there is on this patent is hugely interesting.
The aim of the patent is for Sony to use a number of different sensors and cameras, which would be installed into a specially built chair which would then be placed in the auditorium of an event. The tech installed in the chair would then be accessed by someone wearing a PS4 Virtual Reality headset with the aim of making the VR user feel as if they were attending the event in person.
The cameras, sensors and microphones would be embedded into the body of the seat and only seats that are not taken by paying customers, or which are left purposely empty for VR users to use, would be available online thanks to proximity sensors being able to detect whether a person is sitting in the chair, or whether it is vacant.
Now, this technology is not particularly new. Indeed, the Oculus Rift on the PC has been using similar technology to allow people to view certain events as if they were in the crowd for a short time now, but it is how Sony see this particular market developing that is perhaps most exciting for customers.
Sony have stated that they see this technology as being adaptable, so that VR users can toggle between using the seat position to view the action on screen, as if they were in the stadium or theatre themselves watching, and actually viewing the action on screen from within the game itself.
Now of course, if you are talking about a football game, or another sport, then this would be difficult to achieve, but in the realm of Esports, it is relatively straightforward to put a player into the game by using the feeds of players participating, or having a viewing point from within the game where players can view the action, without interfering with what happens on screen.
Indeed, in their mock up drawings for their patent, it is clear that Sony see Esports as being the main focus for this new patent, as their mock ups show esports events being the focus of the new Virtual Reality chair and in a way this makes perfect sense.
That is because people that own a PSVR headset are more likely to have an interest in gaming and therefore esports than people interested in say football, music or going to the theatre as examples of other events where this tech could potentially be utilised.
The Esports industry is not only set up for VR technology to be used, but it is also an industry where those involved are also most likely to be interested in the technology and what it has to offer. That is significant as the cost for someone not particularly interested in VR technology, is somewhat prohibitive for them to access it without any real interest in gaming or how VR technology can be applied.
In addition to being able to insert the PSVR viewer into the game to view the action, Sony have also stated that they intend to utilise the environment of the location of their viewing chair to enhance the players experience, by using augmented reality to have elements of the game appear in and around the arena, similar to how the Pokemon Go used VR and augmented reality for people to collect monsters from different places all around the globe.
How does this link in with Virtual Sports and Virtual Sports betting?
At first, there is no seeming link between this particular patent from Sony and the world of Virtual Sports betting, but I think it will only be a matter of time, if this technology takes off, that somebody realises that by having VR used in this way, you give the person viewing a chance to bet on the outcome of an event.
You could then have a case where a company develops a betting add on, which can be accessed while watching an event through this technology, where the user can decide to make a bet on the events they are viewing.
The next step on from this is to then create your own Virtual Esports games, which would be similar to the Virtual Sports games we have today, where you can have a Virtual Esport being played out over a short period of time and which then would have its own betting system that people could access online, through their VR headsets for a totally immersive experience.
Indeed, given the level of detail now available in some Virtual Sports, it is perhaps the next logical step for punters to move away from viewing these events on a screen and to becoming immersed in Virtual Sports using VR technology.
Of course, this is all speculation and the truth is that Virtual Esports betting is still very much a pipedream, but it is something that if VR technology takes off in a big way, could well become a reality in the future and that would give a whole new meaning to the term Virtual Sports.