When it comes to virtual reality, the technology still sounds almost surreal and futuristic, but the reality is that it's very much here in the now. You can pick up the Samsung Gear VR for compatibility with both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge as well as the first model which only supports the Galaxy Note 4. There are other options currently in development as well, and even Oculus has given a vague, but finally announced, time frame of sometime in 2016 for release of the Rift. With a couple of high-tech VR units already on the market up for grabs and more on the way, expect plenty of content to start hitting the app and content stores that are made for these units between now and the next year, and if things continue to carry upward, past a year time-frame as well.
Most people might think of the VR units as glorified gaming accessories or expensive toys for watching a very limited amount of video. At the moment that might actually be somewhat true, as the market for available content is going to have to grow and evolve before VR headsets become more than just an extra piece of unnecessary tech. There's something to be said though for the offering of next-generation experiences that can only be had by putting on a VR unit, and submitting yourself to the immersion of whichever application you're about to enjoy, presumably. One of those types of content happens to be in the realm of sporting events which may not sound all that exciting compared to the real thing, but users might actually be surprised.
While at the moment limited to short video clips and snippets of actual games or sporting events, it shouldn't be too far off from where we might be able to see an entire game through the comfort of our own home with a VR headset. Why not just watch on TV if you're going to be sitting at home? Because there will be things which only a VR experience will be able to give the viewer. Sure, it won't be able to replace the same exact feelings of excitement that come along with going to an actual game like the NBA playoffs, it will however, be able to provide some experiences which you can't really get anywhere else. Special viewing angles and the feeling of being there without actually being there thanks to the advancement of 180-degree and 360-degree video technology being used for some of this content and future content that has yet to be unleashed.
For anyone that has never experienced some of the videos with something like the Samsung Gear VR, it's easy to understand any level of skepticism. How could watching something at home, through a piece of head worn tech be any better than actually watching things happen at the game? That's just it, in most cases, or perhaps in every case, it won't be. There are going to be plenty of people though who might never get the chance to experience a live sports event from the best seats in the house, something which typically can make it one of the coolest things to ever be involved in. For those individuals, seeing things through the eyes of the cameras which record this content for VR is probably the next best thing and it isn't a terrible option by any means. Unless VR evolves to the point where viewers can watch an entire game from start to finish like they were sitting courtside with immersive, spatial audio so real it's literally like being there, then it will never be able to truly replace attending live sports events. It can however, give you something almost as cool, and that's an immersive experience you won't get from simply watching events on the TV.