As companies like Oculus, Samsung and Sony plot their attempts to corner the VR market, there’s another key element to the tech making an impact on mainstream audiences — content. Hardware is only half the story, and as such pro wrestling behemoth WWE has announced its first foray into the world of virtual entertainment.
Two experiences shot at recent WWE events are now available via Samsung’s Milk VR content distribution service. These videos are compatible with both the Gear VR Innovator Edition, as well as the $99 Gear VR headset, which Samsung hopes will help build public interest in the tech when it launches later this month.
The first clip comprises of a 360-degree highlight reel from WWE’s blockbuster SummerSlam event from August of this year. Action on show includes the unparalleled athleticism of world champion Seth Rollins, and a pivotal appearance from former host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart.
WWE’s second VR offering focusses on the main event from the night before SummerSlam — an intense ladder match between Kevin Owens and Finn Balor, two defining competitors from the company’s NXT brand. Intended as a proving ground for the next generation of talent, NXT has proven to be fertile ground for technological experimentation such as this.
Michelle Wilson, WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer, describes this content as an effort for the company to “go where our fans go” in a report from Variety. Last year, WWE demonstrated a similarly forward-facing outlook by re-configuring its successful pay-per-view model into an over-the-top subscription service, the WWE Network.
Milk VR users can access this content right now by visiting the WWE 360 channel. Expect to see plenty more partnerships like this one emerge in the coming months — if virtual reality hardware is to be as successful as is hoped, a varied selection of content created with the tech in mind is absolutely crucial.