O2 launches rugby and music VR experiences

A series of new virtual reality (VR) experiences from mobile operator O2 allow fans to go head-to-head against the England Rugby team or explore an O2 Academy venue as a star or a music fan at a sold-out show.

Compatible with multiple VR platforms including Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the VR experiences transport fans into “worlds of unforgettable live experiences”, O2 says.

O2 worked with England Rugby to develop the rugby VR experience. It combines real-life 360° video with interactive CGI characters, giving gamers and rugby fans the chance to compete against England Rugby players including Dylan Hartley, George Ford, Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs and Henry Slade as well as Mako and Billy Vunipola, who were all motion capped for the experience.

VR players are challenged to track the players’ movements (and those of the ball) and take part in virtual drills ranging from scrummaging and tackling to kicking.

The O2 Academy venue VR experience features a cast of over 100 and was filmed by a crew of almost 30.

It features interactive and switchable storytelling, allowing users to constantly swap between the music fan and band perspectives to experience how the excitement builds both in front of and behind the stage.

According to O2, this is the first time an O2 Academy venue has given 360° ‘behind the scenes’ access, with the band point-of-view showcasing how musicians build up to an event — from leaving the tour bus to being backstage in the dressing room — and eventually building to a crescendo of the band walking on stage to an onslaught of noise that transports the user directly to the live music arena.

A third experience showcasing some of the biggest moments at The O2 in London will also be released soon.

The experiences will be available to try in 90 O2 stores across the UK as well as at Twickenham Stadium on match days or at The O2. Users will be able to download the experiences later this year.

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