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Getty Images dives deeper into VR with Olympics plan and more

With an increasing number of consumers strapping on virtual reality (VR) headsets to explore worlds beyond their own, more and more creators are hatching plans to feed the content-hungry platform.

Take Getty Images. The photo agency wasted little time in getting involved, last year launching its first 360-degree images specifically for the Oculus Rift. The Seattle-based firm said at the time it planned to offer “enchanting creative stills alongside some of the world’s biggest moments in news, sports and entertainment.”

A year on and the company has just reaffirmed its commitment to the platform, on Tuesday announcing the launch of the Getty Images Virtual Reality Group, a new part of its global operation dedicated to the creation and distribution of VR content through its massive stock agency and other channels. At launch the group offers more than 12,000 360-degree images, Getty said.

As part of its efforts to stay ahead of the VR curve, the agency also revealed plans to equip every Getty Images photographer attending the upcoming Rio Olympics with a 360-degree camera to offer sports fans a more immersive visual experience of the Games’ major events.

Commenting on the company’s efforts, CEO Dawn Airey said that while the technology is still in its infancy, “we can expect to see VR become a leading tool for visual storytelling.” Airey added that research data suggests more than 14 million VR devices could be sold this year alone, a figure that means “we are only on the cusp of what will be a tectonic plate shift in VR.”

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In another VR-related move just last month, Getty Images and Google announced a partnership that’ll see the photo agency start supplying hi-res immersive content from current events around the world for Google Expeditions, a VR platform that lets students visit faraway places without leaving the classroom.

With the growing VR crowd constantly on the lookout for new content, initiatives by a growing number of outfits, Getty Images among them, mean the trickle of new experiences could soon turn into a torrent, a development that may persuade curious consumers without a headset to finally dive in and give VR a go.