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Intel is getting into VR sports and live events

The chip giant purchased Voke, a firm that does just that.
Intel is getting into VR sports and live events
Steve Dent
Steve Dent|@stevetdent|November 4, 2016 6:45 AM

There's a glut of virtual reality headsets on the market now, but not nearly enough VR content. Intel, which just launched the "Project Alloy" mixed reality headset, is addressing that. It acquired a small firm called Voke that produces 360-degree content for live events like fashion shows and basketball games, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Voke is going to allow us to accelerate our route to market with leagues and broadcasters," Intel VP Wendell Brooks tells the WSJ.

Intel is building a VR studio in LA, and is already into sports broadcast technology. It recently purchased Replay Technologies, whose freeD tech is used by the NBA and MLB to do "bullet time" 360-degree replays. Though it's getting into the VR broadcast business, the company no doubt hopes that extra content will drive demand for its chips. Oculus and Vive headset buyers, for example, must purchase decently spec'd PCs, most of which use Intel CPUs.

There's still no proof that virtual reality is going to be huge, but all the major tech companies (apart from Apple) are betting on it. Microsoft revealed that its Holographic VR platform would come to Windows 10 in 2017. Intel's Project Alloy will run on the platform, as will new $300 headsets from Lenovo, HP and Dell. Meanwhile, Google has developed its own Daydream headset and platform, Samsung has the smartphone-based Gear VR, and Sony is now selling it's PlayStation VR gaming headset.

If sales take off as expected, Intel's bet on VR content should pay off. However, it's still too early to tell if virtual reality is going to be a genuine hit or not. HTC has reportedly sold around 140,000 Vive headsets at $700 a pop, which isn't bad, and Oculus said over a million people used the Gear VR in May. Perhaps the biggest test will come at the end of the year, when Sony will reveal results from its first full quarter of Playstation VR headset sales.

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Intel is getting into VR sports and live events