Some media analysts are convinced VR video will soon be bigeven though most people still haven’t tried on a VR headset yet.
That isn’t stopping players like Major League Baseball (MLB) from jumping into a new partnership with Samsung to provide users with all the baseball-related VR content they can handle.
On Wednesday, the two announced the collaboration, which will initially give Samsung Gear VR users access (via the device’s app) to 20 VR video experiences that take fans behind the scenes of MLB sports events.
But what about live events in VR? In a separate deal announced earlier this month, MLB launched a series of live games Samsung Gear VR users can watch via the Intel True VR app. And while this all sounds great in terms of pushing VR forward, I’m skeptical about the chances of VR and professional baseball being a match.
Live sports via mobile VR headsets is something I’ve sampled extensively, and the format lends itself more to fast-paced action that allows you to occasionally remove the headset for breaks (perfect for football and basketball).
But MLB games often last three hours or longer, which is a challenge for even the most hardcore VR enthusiasts.
Nevertheless, the forecasts for mobile VR video adoption in general are optimistic. A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study predicts that VR video will be the primary driver of growth for virtual reality, while the latest Nielsen Games 360 U.S. Report lists the Samsung Gear VR as the most recognized VR device among mainstream consumers.
Given those findings, it’s no surprise that MLB is giving this whole mobile VR thing a shot. But whether the slow pace of the game will mesh well with extended periods inside an immersive plastic headset is something only time and testing will reveal.
VR video may indeed become popular in the coming years, but if I had to make an educated guess, it seems pro baseball livestreams might result in a strikeout.