Up until now, the “second-screen” experience while watching a live sports event on TV typically revolves around accessing apps like Twitter or services like ESPN GameCast on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Microsoft wants to take this to the next level with its augmented reality headset.
The tech giant today offered a glimpse of the future with a video showing how its HoloLens device can be used by sports fans while they watch a game on TV.
“What if game day was no longer confined to your television screen, but covered your room and took over your coffee table?” Microsoft VP Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a blog post.
The possibilities are fascinating for Microsoft, which inked a five-year, $400 million contract with the NFL in 2013. Here’s how Mehdi describes the experience:
In the video, you will see how HoloLens and the NFL looked into the future together to dream up new ways fans could experience football with mixed reality. Imagine The Big Game, extended beyond your existing screen, with displays, player stats and instant replays on your coffee table. With HoloLens, running Windows 10, your favorite players could be brought to life through high-definition, 3D displays – allowing you to experience the athleticism and skills behind their stats. That game-changing play could pop up as a 3D hologram so you could view the field from all angles, all while your fantasy scores update in real time, without the need for you to look down at another screen.
It’s unclear if this HoloLens functionality will ever become an actual product — this is just a concept video to show what’s possible. There are a number of software challenges that Microsoft would need to solve to make this a reality, given the additional on-field cameras and technology needed to make this a seamless real-time experience.
Still, after watching that video, it’s exciting to think about all the neat ways a device like HoloLens could enhance the game-watching experience — if fans don’t mind wearing a headset while they enjoy the action, of course.
The augmented reality experience an alternative to the technology being rolled out by virtual reality companies like NextVR, which installs cameras in arenas and stadiums and lets fans feel like they sitting in the stands when they’re actually at home on their couch.
This is the first sports-related example we’ve seen Microsoft show with the HoloLens. In November, the company showed how the HoloLens could revolutionize car shopping. Before that, it was talking about education. When the headset first debuted in January 2015, Microsoft showed off everything from using it to play video games to getting directions on how to fix a light switch.
Beyond watching the game at home, you wonder about how the HoloLens might be used by players and coaches, too, given that they are already using virtual reality technology to help improve their performance during games.
Microsoft plans to ship its HoloLens Development Edition this quarter.