NextVR: Google’s stand-alone VR headset will introduce iOS users to VR sports

If you have gone to a basketball game and never had to shout at an overzealous fan to get out of the way so you can watch the action, you must have had court side seats. But, in virtual reality, even court side seats do not preclude the occasional butt in the face obstruction. That could soon change. Following Google’s announcement of its first standalone virtual reality headset at this year’s Google I/O, Digital Trends spoke with NextVR co-founder and CEO David Cole about how the new headset will give you more freedom when watching basketball games in VR.

NextVR thinks Google’s standalone headset will bring more court side movements to mobile VR. “For instance, you are watching our center court camera feed and something obstructs the camera like a ref stands in front of the camera, you can physically move your body and look around it,” Cole said. That is thanks to Google’s WorldSense technology, which will allow its headset to track your motions without external sensors. The motion tracking is known as “six degrees of freedom” (6DOF) as you are able to move up, down, left, right, backwards, and forward in a 3D space.

Before you think you will be running on court to get face to face with Lebron, Cole wants to temper expectations.

Before you think you will be running on court to get face to face with Lebron, Cole wants to temper expectations. “This doesn’t mean you can get up and walk out on court,” Cole said “It is, in its first incarnation, limited to a certain sort of viewing box where we have camera coverage.” With the freedom afforded by a standalone headset, if NextVR can place enough cameras together, you may be able to walk around a basketball arena in VR.

If you have ever watched a basketball game in VR, you have probably been amazed at being court side, but a bit underwhelmed you could only look up down and around. Especially when a player or a referee obstructs your view and you can not adjust your view to look around them. That is because mobile VR headsets such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream only give you three degrees of freedom (3DOF) allowing you to look horizontally and around in a 3D space, but you can not move in it.

Watching a basketball game in virtual reality is taxing on the phone. Before you know it, it’s halftime and your battery is dying, your phone is hot, and the VR stream is choppy because of it all. Google’s standalone headset housing everything inside one device sounds like an explosion waiting to happen, but Cole thinks the Qualcomm 835 chip in the headset will be a game changer. “[Qualcomm] 835 is purpose built and beyond to do this computation without totally burning up the battery of the device.” That chip is handling so much it allows for the device to do other things which “lets you watch a full basketball game without killing your battery,” Cole said.

how virtual reality will change gaming movies sports travel nba nextvr 5

Virtual reality has steadily grown from a novelty to burgeoning industry, but there has been an Apple-shaped gap in the market. Outside of sticking your iPhone into Google’s Cardboard VR headsets, iOS users have largely been left out of the current VR wave. Cole sees standalone devices like Google’s as the perfect entry points for those users. “It’s appealing to the iOS user community, because even though [Google’s standalone VR headset] is an Android device, it’s really a VR appliance,” Cole said. “When you buy VR applications, you are buying Daydream applications, and not in any way Android applications.”

That means NextVR could soon bring tens of millions of iOS users their first viewing of a full basketball game in VR. Cole said he could not comment on if he knew about Google’s standalone VR headset before it was unveiled to the world at this year’s Google I/O. But, he did say “we are very familiar with the product.” So, expect NextVR to be a big player when virtual reality no longer needs your phone to be mobile.

Social Media

Google will begin shutting down the classic Hangouts app in October

Google confirmed that it will begin retiring the classic Google Hangouts app in October. The company will start by pushing users to move to the new Google Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

HTC brings two new headsets, a VR browser, and ‘Netflix for VR’ to CES 2019

HTC Vive made several new announcements to CES 2019, including two new headsets, a new subscription service, and a new user interface that completely transforms how applications are launched.

Camera records real-life scenes to design virtual worlds using a single device

Creating virtual reality worlds may get a bit easier in 2019 -- the Axis is a camera module that records a 180-degree depth map, allowing designers to reconstruct the scene for virtual or augmented reality.
Product Review

HTC puts eye-tracking tech in Vive Pro Eye to make next-gen VR hands-free

With the announcement of integrated eye tracking for the Vive Pro Eye, hands-free VR, less demanding high-quality experiences, and intuitive software, are all on the table.

The Vive Pro Eye uses Tobii eye-tracking technology to make VR more lifelike

HTC revealed the Vive Pro Eye with eye-tracking support at its CES 2019 press conference on January 7. We now know that Tobii will be the company responsible for integrating the technology.

Oculus’ Quest is the headset that will make me (and you) a VR believer

Without excessive wires or complicated setup, and a price point that makes sense for tech that just isn't there yet, Oculus' upcoming standalone headset, the Quest, could bring VR mainstream.

Dive headfirst into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.

These shoes let me stroll through ‘Skyrim,’ and I desperately want to go back

After being funded in just two hours on Kickstarter back in October 2018, Cybershoes has earned itself a place among the coolest VR walking and running tech. At CES 2019, we got to try them out and they live up to the hype.

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.