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O2 unveils new virtual reality experiences

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A series of unique VR experiences in rugby and music brings fans closer to the action than ever before

O2 has today launched a series of brand new virtual reality experiences. For the first time, O2 customers and fans can go head to head against the England Rugby team or explore an O2 Academy venue as a star or a fan at a sold out show. A third experience showcasing some of the biggest moments at the world’s leading music and entertainment venue, The O2 will also be coming soon.

Compatible with multiple VR platforms including Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, fans will be transported into worlds of unforgettable live experiences.

From today, the experiences will be available to try in 90 O2 stores nationwide as well as at Twickenham on match days or at The O2. The experiences will also be available to download later this year.

England Rugby VR

In a world first combination of real-life 360°-video combined with interactive CGI characters, O2 is giving gamers and rugby fans alike the chance to compete against the best the nation offers in rugby talent. Following on from the success of the first ever Oculus Rift sports experience created by O2 in 2014, the new experience makes use of the best technology on the market.

The fully interactive experience uses Xsense motion capture to provide accurate in-game player movement, taking cues from England Rugby players’ weight, mass and average speeds to ensure their character’s movements are as realistic as possible. Dylan Hartley, George Ford, Maro Itoje, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade as well as Mako and Billy Vunipola were all motioned capped and feature in the experience. VR players are then challenged to track the player’s movements (and those of the ball) and take part in virtual drills developed in partnership with England Rugby.  The interactive, points based drills range from scrummaging to tackling to kicking with the ultimate aim of being selected to wear the rose.

Paul Gustard, Defence Coach at England Rugby said:

“We really enjoyed working in partnership with O2 to develop this unique virtual reality experience. It’s the only game out there that has had input from England Rugby to create a great experience for fans. I hope the experience gives rugby fans and novices alike an insight in to the way we train and the amount of hard work that is involved in being an International rugby player.”

O2 Academy venues VR

Featuring a cast of over 100 and filmed by a crew of almost 30, the experience offers two experiences in one – allowing users to live through a pre-performance at an O2 Academy venue as either a music fan or a member of a band.

Using a unique, interactive and switchable storytelling mechanic, users can constantly swap between the music fan and band perspectives – experiencing first-hand how the excitement builds both in front of and behind the stage.

The experience is the first time an O2 Academy venue has given 360° ‘behind the scenes’ access, with the band point-of-view showcasing how musicians build up to an event – from leaving the tour bus to being backstage in the dressing room – eventually building to a crescendo of the band walking on stage to an onslaught of noise that transports the user directly to the live music arena.

Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship at O2 said:

“We believe in live, and using the latest VR technology we can showcase our live experiences to O2 customers in our stores across the country. Through a combination of world first CGI characters and unique interactive gameplay, each experience has been designed to give the user unprecedented access to O2 Academy venues, The O2 and our relationship with the England Rugby team. We’re excited to roll our new virtual reality in to O2 stores nationwide, Twickenham Stadium on match days and The O2.”

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