The National Football League (NFL) has announced that a new official virtual reality (VR) game will be developed in partnership with StatusPro, a sports technology and gaming company that has seen investments from various sports stars such as LeBron James, Naomi Osaka and Lamar Jackson. Notably, the game will be a first-person simulation game imitating the experience of professional American football players on the field.
The name, release date, and pricing of the game have not been announced. Alongside the NFL’s official statements, there is another indicator that authenticity will be central to user experience: even though StatusPro has never produced a game before, the company already specializes in extended reality experiences using athlete data and has been selling licenses to an augmented reality training tool for NFL teams.
Major sports leagues have been hugely active in the gaming industry for many years. Yet this licensing agreement sees the NFL become the first major sports league in the US to launch a VR game. The move is a bet on the future increase in adoption of VR devices in the coming years. It is plausible that the lure of a more immersive and realistic gaming experience focused on first-person simulations could drive demand for VR games and open new revenue opportunities for video game producers and sports rightsholders. It remains to be seen whether this revenue will come at the cost of conventional games.
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