Future of VR in Sports: Interview with LiveLike’s CEO
As virtual reality continues to heat up and funding is going to many companies. Entrepreneurs and CEOs are anxiously seeing what they can do to get in on virtual reality as they attempt to make something happen. That’s not what’s happening with LiveLikeVR and their CEO, Andre Lorenceau though.
LiveLikeVR is riding high. They just won $50k by placing first place at the First & Future competition that was held by the NFL and TechCrunch. $50k isn’t a lot of money for a virtual reality company, however, by being in a room that was loaded with NFL executives and venture capital firms in the virtual reality space right before the Super Bowl, is a big deal. Andre has thought for a while that virtual reality will impact sports in a big way over time. He realized that there weren’t many companies focusing on the social aspect of viewing sporting events. LiveLike offers a fully immersive experience that enables people to enjoy live sports in a virtual suite with friends. This could end up being what has you at home on Sunday with a big clunky piece of technology on your face, so that you don’t have to buy a ticket and drive to the sports stadium.
Andre was recently interviewed by SportTechieHQ. Troy Ruediger and Brandon Copeland are the interviewers.
See the interview below.
Troy Ruediger — “Please help me welcome @andrelorenceau. We have all spoken to him before but he was gracious enough to set aside an hour of his time to answer any questions we have about virtual reality and the role it will play in the future of sports. If you have a question I think it would be cool if you could just briefly intro yourself so Andre can have some background context and then ask your question.”
Andre Lorenceau— “Hey everyone, I’v now worked several years in VR and in a couple companies, seen TONS of headsets (including the newest ones that are coming out soon) if you want to know more about anything in the industry, don’t hesitate.”
Troy Ruediger—“Thanks again for being here. I think the best way to start is maybe just provide a little background, how you got to where you are and what you are doing with LiveLikeVR.”
Andre Lorenceau — “All right, so — I worked at www.innerspaceVR.comfor about a year before, with a good portion of that in South Korea with the Oculus and Samsung team there we launched the GearVR (which was called the Project moonlight ooohhh and then I started LiveLike because I realized that most people in VR sports today only focus on immersion, and not at all on the social components or the amazing interactivity that you can have in VR. Today we are talking to pretty much EVERY major broadcaster in the western Hemisphere, we’ve done 4 Live streams with British and french broadcasters.. we have a bunch of tennis (indian wells + french tennis open) on the way and are even working on deals I can’t talk about sadly with major US broadcasters that you definitely know.”
Brandon Copeland — “I’ve only experienced VR once. A good friend of mine has the Samsung Gear VR, and I took the Jurassic Park app for a ride and it was amazing. However, my understanding is that the world I dove into had to be programmed, and couldn’t be altered. How would an experience like sports compare? That’s a live event. Would I be stationary? Would I feel like I’m in a seat? Could I turn my head? I’m just trying to envision it.”
Andre Lorenceau — “So in the world of sports you can do many things, and you can even tackle problem differently as @tom_i_vl fromVirtually Live would agree. However, the way we do it is that you put on the headset and you are instantly teleported to your own private VIP suite. The room around you is computer generated, but the field in front of you is a live video stream. You are stationary, on a seat, however you can, through a quick button inside the environment, be teleported to other seats in the stadium, and even inside the room, so you can go to areas where you can hang out with your friends, and share alternative content such as highlights and replays that’s really only the beggining though, and having 360 cameras (both live and non-live) is definitely in the books.”
Brandon Copeland — “So would the area that displays the sporting event be stationary while the room moves (kind of like the Netflix Theatre app on Gear) or would me moving my head alter the way in which I view the playing surface. Can I pan from looking at one end zone to another as I turn my head?”
Andre Lorenceau — “it’s a lot like the netflix theatre app on the gear yeah but instead of a small tv in front of you, the whole wall in front is an opening that gives a view onto a stadium, all the way to the crowds on the sides and we augment the experience with a lot of interactive elements.”
Brandon Copeland — “Live sports were one of the things that we got excited about when I tried Gear the first time. I’m sure your technology could also easily transfer to conferences, concerts, etc. Very cool stuff!”
Andre Lorenceau — “There’s a live demo Here:
LiveLike’s VR Spectator App Wins The 1st And Future Bringing Home The Game Category Virtual reality, body cameras, and the Internet Of Things are poised to change the way we watch sports. Today we saw…techcrunch.com”
Troy Ruediger — “The only time I have tried VR it felt a bit awkward wearing the thing on my face, I can see how it would be difficult to sit through a whole game wearing it. It seems to me that what VR is now is sort of a stepping stone or a bridge between now and what it will be eventually, I am curious to get your thoughts on sort of the state of virtual reality as it is today.”
Andre Lorenceau — “Well I super agree that right now, VR is clunky, heavy, and generally pretty crap as a user experience most people who love VR (like me) love it 50% for what it is and 50% for what it will be the headsets are getting WAY lighter very quickly. I don’t know for a fact how much the PC-based oculus rift weighs, but I’d be ready to bet it’s less than HALF what the gearVR is it’s so comfortable and easy to forget it’s on your face, it’s way less clunky (still pretty clunky), and that’s just the first version. It’s like looking at an Ipod 1 right now..it was cool, but damn. if someone showed you that today.”
Troy Ruediger — “I think that what I am saying is I can’t really see myself sitting down to watch an entire game until I don’t have to wear something on my face. The technology is awesome for a few minutes and to think about what it can be is cool but I just don’t see the end goal with it? I guess thats where we have to look at augmented reality? I’m not sure if I entirely know the difference between the two either?”
Andre Lorenceau — “I’ll answer the AR question after
So first — the sitting through a whole game question
I’m going to get mathematical for someone to watch a full game, you have to convince them that the value of sitting through the whole game, is worth more than the value of the discomfort of wearing the headset right now, the value proposition added is 2 out of 10, where 10 is basically you would use it no matter how uncomfortable it is the headset is basically at a ‘clunkyness-level’ of lets say 8. 10 is monstrous and 1 is basically a contact lens
Everyday that goes by, livelike builds more features, and advances 0.001 in value, the headsets on the other hands everyday reduce by 0.001 in value.
When the paths cross, and the when of that VERY much depends on who is trying it on, is when people will watch full games in here.
Inside the app there’s 3 value propositions
1- feel like you are at the stadium,
2- feel like you are in this super data room where you can have EVERYTHING about sports
3- feel like you are hanging out with your friends, no matter where you are
I care pretty much only about 3 (it’s why I started the app), but some people care a ton about 1, and 2, and not at all about 3.
1 is going to be improved a lot by adding 3d stereoscopic capture, 2. is going to be improved by adding live player tracking and fantasy football integration
and 3. can be improved with giving the ability to scan your face with your cellphone and see your friend physically as a personable avatar
okay, that’s probably enough for that…
AR [Augmented Reality] and VR are two cousins essentially
VR -> you simulate a world around you, AR you simulate a world ONTO the existing world
AR is much harder because, hey computers actually really suck at understanding basic world stuff, but if you give them a computer created world in VR, they can do whatever they want for sports watching, the difference will be : In VR you watch it in a VIP suite, with the front wall being opened onto a live video. In AR, you watch it in your living room, with YOUR front wall being virtually opened onto a live video we’ll move to AR as soon as there’s some good AR headsets out there but it’s likely a year or two out a lot of what were building will apply though.”
Brandon Copeland — “Good breakdown of the three value props. I was getting more into #1. I just hopped on PS Party with my buddy who is really interested in VR, and he jumped right to#3 about what he cared about before I read him your answer. Interesting!”
Andre Lorenceau — “haha yeah, these are pretty careful crafted, we discovered it over time and after a lot of thinking of the topic the whole thing about the 3 value proposition is that they mimic what you do on TV
1- is just watching the game
2- is when you pull out your cell phone to say that Adrian Peterson is better than Reggie Bush and back it up with stats or to check facebook/twitter
3- is litterally when you invite your friends over
VR can SUPERCHARGE each of these activities and up until livelike people on did 1.”
Troy Ruediger — “I am particularly curious to hear about your experience at the Super Bowl and winning the 1st and Future competition put on by NFL and TechCrunch, thats awesome! Pitching to a room full of NFL execs and Roger Goodel has to be a awesome experience. Obviously 50k is not a lot for a VR company but I’m sure you walked away with some awesome opportunities.
What is to come of that?”
Andre Lorenceau — “Well there were 3 prizes, 2 superbowl ticket (thoroughly enjoyed), 50K and a meeting with NFL executives. The third is still being scheduled (but we knew the NFL beforehand anyway). What was great is that EVERY VC, and tech news outlet now has their ears perked up at this little startup called livelike.
And btw, the room also had bob Kraft (patriots owner) Jerry Jones (cowboys), Condoleeza Rice, BON JOVI..so we got in front of good people!”