Intel bets heavily on VR, gets into broadcasting of VR sports and live events

Apple is the only tech company which hasn’t invested in the platform. Once tech majors release their full year results, we’ll know whether the platform will take-off or whether it is a fad.

Although the virtual reality market is glutted with VR headsets now, there is however a dearth of VR content. So as to address this issue, Intel has launched the “Project Alloy” mixed reality headset.

To this end, Intel has acquired Voke, a small firm that produces 360-degree content for live events like fashion shows and basketball games.

“Voke is going to allow us to accelerate our route to market with leagues and broadcasters,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel’s Vice President.

Intel is also in the process of building a VR studio in Los Angeles and is already into sports broadcast technology.

Earlier this year, it acquired Replay Technologies, which has developed a freeD tech which is used by MLB and NBA to do 360-degree “bullet time” replays.

Intel getting into the VR broadcasting business has a calculated side benefits for its core manufacturing and selling business. These high bandwidth content are likely to drive up demand for its chips. Case in point: Vive headset and Oculus buyers will have to purchase computers with decent specifications in order to view the VR content.

Other than Apple, most major tech companies have bet heavily on virtual reality. Case in point: Microsoft has disclosed its Holographic VR platform is likely to come to Windows 10 next year. VR headsets from companies such as Dell, Lenovo and HP, which currently sell for $300 and above will all run on the VR platform, including Intel’s project Alloy.

As for Google, it has developed its own VR platform and headset which it calls Daydream, Sony has its PlayStation VR gaming headset while Samsung has its smartphone-based Gear VR.

If VR headset sales really take off, Intel’s bet on the platform will pay off big time.

Unfortunately, it is still too early to say whether VR is going to be a hit or a miss. Oculus has reported that more than a million people used Gear VR in May, while HTC sold nearly 140,000 Vive headsets for $700 a pop.

At the end of this year the fog of war will lift when tech companies, including Sony, will disclose their earnings from VR headset sales.


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