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Jabari Young wearing the Oculus Quest 2 device.
Source: Jabari Young
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka popped up from the team bench, and before I knew it, he was blocking my view. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was close enough for me to see his Cole Haan shoes, and I saw a Lance Stephenson 3-pointer from an angle I’d never seen before.
That’s just some of my recent experience watching an NBA game while wearing a virtual reality headset.
The National Basketball Association is offering virtual courtside seats on Meta‘s $299 Oculus Quest 2 devices. The headsets were one of the most popular Christmas gifts in 2021, showing that people seem to be more willing than ever to give virtual reality a try. And businesses are trying to keep your eyeballs on their content by creating VR versions of their apps and games.
An Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and controllers, taken on September 28, 2020.
Phil Barker | Future | Getty Images
The NBA experience is free and available on Meta’s Horizon Venues platform, which is a free software download for the Oculus headset. People appear as digital avatars, sort of like cartoon versions of their real selves, and watch an NBA game from a courtside perspective. It’s not Jack Nicholson’s Los Angeles Lakers seat at Crypto.com Arena or Spike Lee’s seat at Madison Square Garden, but it almost replicates the real thing.
From a business perspective, the deal could give the NBA a new set of media rights, which is important as regional sports networks struggle.
Meanwhile, Meta — the company formerly known as Facebook — is using the partnership with sports providers including the NBA, WWE and Premier League to give people new reasons to try virtual reality.
Mark Zuckerberg’s company is making a $10 billion investment in the metaverse, a virtual world he believes will become the standard for social networking, gaming and even work.
Meta sent CNBC the Oculus 2 headset last month. I experienced the Jan. 10 NBA courtside game between the Celtics and Pacers. Here’s what you need to know.
The Celtics Jaylen Brown drives to the basket between the Pacers Jeremy Lamb (left) and Myles Turner (right) in a regular season NBA basketball game at TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 10. 2022.
Jim Davis | Boston Globe | Getty Images
First, you should know you’re prohibited from watching if you live in the market where an NBA game is being broadcast on TV. The NBA uses RSN feeds from its League Pass product, and local markets are subject to the same annoying restrictions you run into elsewhere.
Once you get in the game, you’ll instantly notice other avatars engaging in live discussions. The closeness of the action grabs your attention, too. It’s here that you get immersed in the experience, as it actually feels a lot like being in a courtside seat, right down to the engagement with nearby fans.
There are two levels in the digital room where you can watch the game. The first level is usually where the crowd watches while chatting, and on this night, I counted about 15 people in the room during the first quarter.
The balcony level is quieter for a more private setting, and the view is fine.
Don’t be afraid to spark up a conversation with an avatar whose microphone is on, especially if you need help navigating the room, which looks like two levels of a private social club.
As the Celtics were up 23-18 in the first quarter, one avatar approached me to ask for assistance on watching. I was confused at first, as my stream was fine, but it became clear the real person behind the avatar had a bad connection or was restricted due to local blackout rules.
That prompted him to label the NBA’s metaverse experience “trash.” Moments later, I asked another avatar standing next to me what he thought of the experience.
“This is dope,” responded the avatar named “TUtley.” “They need to get this for football.”
The scenic views of Boston that appeared during game breaks were pretty impressive, too, and gave me a sense of being in the city where the game is played.
“Yo, man! Are you alright,” I overheard one avatar asking another.
The avatar in question was slumped over and unresponsive. It almost appeared the metaverse figure was having a seizure.
The avatar eventually regained his form and started talking, but that glitch was certainly weird.
The controllers are your hands in the metaverse, so it can be weird seeing nearby avatars with their hands and arms looking misaligned with their bodies.
In the fourth quarter, Stephenson nailed a 3-pointer, and Pacers forward Torrey Craig then converted a layup to cut the Celtics lead to three, 71-68.
Witnessing the close sequence was fun, but the relatively poor picture quality eventually became noticeable. TV and video providers have spoiled viewers with high-definition games. So, any slight difference in quality is quickly noticeable.
The NBA works with VR production company Media Monks to show the games on the Oculus platform.
During the NBA’s pandemic “bubble” season in Orlando, the firm used Sony’s FX6 cameras, which cost roughly $6,000, to shoot VR games. This season, though, games are being shot with Sony FX9 cameras, which cost about $11,000.
But Meta frequently experiments with resolution and frame rates of the VR games, which are still technically in “beta,” or testing mode. Media Monks places five cameras in NBA arenas but added a sixth for the Celtics-Pacers game to capture a sense of space.
One FX9 camera is at the announcer’s table, offering the front row view. FX9 cameras are also on each backboard. One is used to capture far shots and another for roving.
The cameras switch angles during the game, which can be annoying but necessary when coaches accidentally block the view. Udoka’s leg was in my face every time he walked to center court, for example.
The featured moderator is former NBA forward Richard Jefferson, but the commentating is dull at times. And the trivia questions don’t help.
Meta uses former NBA players such as Jefferson to interact with avatars attending the courtside experience. And in some contests, commentators could appear in the room as actual avatars to chat with fans.
We’ll see how exciting that actually is when it happens.
A screenshot of Jabari’s home screen reminding of an NBA virtual reality event on the Oculus Quest 2 platform.
Jabari Young | CNBC
Finally, the selection of games could be better. Celtics-Pacers was fine, but marquee matches would be more appealing and might attract more people, making it an even more social experience.
The next two NBA VR games on Oculus are scheduled for Jan. 17 — Covid postponements permitting — featuring the Oklahoma Thunder playing Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks. The Jan. 22 VR experience has the Sacramento Kings playing the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Those aren’t necessarily must-see games.
I missed the overtime session of the Celtics-Pacers because my Oculus headset battery died. But, judging by how many people were on the first level late in the fourth quarter, with more coming in from the Venues lobby, it’s fair to say the NBA VR experience was popular that night in the metaverse.
Three days after attending the game, I spoke with Rob Shaw, Meta’s director of sports leagues and media partnerships, to understand how much the courtside experience has advanced and where it’s headed.
Shaw was reminded of comments made to CNBC in 2020 when he said the NBA’s Oculus concept was “still at the early stage.”
Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset.
T3 Magazine | Future | Getty Images
Shaw said the new Oculus Quest 2 and its distribution have made a big difference since then. He noted the device is lighter, has better visuals and is cheaper than its $399 sister device, making it more popular as a gift.
“Now, we’re in the foundational moments of building and learning the experience,” said Shaw.
I asked whether the NBA experience would stay free, and Shaw didn’t rule it out.
“I think the business model can be redefined,” he explained. “It’s not necessarily going to have to be pay-per-view but an economy that can be built around the viewership experience.”
He added that if the VR experience can truly evolve to mimic being courtside, “I can see them wanting to put a price point on a ticket. But that’s a decision to be made by the league and media company.”
Ultimately, it’s up to the NBA whether to charge consumers. The league didn’t make an official available to CNBC to discuss it.
While the NBA remains silent on the matter, Meta is looking forward.
Shaw envisions immersive VR ads and allowing users to purchase avatar jerseys from a metaverse NBA store. Then, for an extra fee, private live-screening options. There are ideas around a sports bar courtside seat experience and VIP options that include watching games with an NBA legend or celebrity.
“I do think sponsorship can be redefined,” Shaw said. “The brand activation that is historically limited in-venue suddenly becomes more accessible and customizing to the metaverse.”
— CNBC’s Steve Kovach contributed to this article.
Workshops and Programs Will Discuss and Showcase the Innovations that Deliver Content to the Metaverse
CHICAGO, Aug. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — SIGGRAPH 2022 delves into the evolution and advancements in technology for the metaverse. Several programs across the conference will explore the current state and future possibilities in this virtual universe. Conversations and workshops will be held to assist in creating content for the metaverse; while leading experts touch on the experiences, and other metaverse-related ideas, from discussions on interoperability, workshops on 3D modeling, and even tackling potential challenges in this environment. The 49th annual conference will run 8–11 August in person, with on-demand sessions available virtually 25 July–31 October 2022.
The metaverse, once considered a hypothetical virtual world, is now an immersive network of 3D worlds focused on social interaction. Advancements in technologies, including augmented and virtual reality, have made it easier to connect users in both these remote and 3D worlds. But how does an interactive experience affect one’s life in the metaverse? What will happen to how people socialize, work, learn, and play? How does it affect various industries such as art, gaming, fashion, healthcare, or movies?
At SIGGRAPH 2022, the metaverse will be the focus of many panels, courses, and hands-on workshops. Topics covered include how computer graphics deals with the mechanics of the human body, the sense of touch with physical hardware in a spatial environment, and even neural network algorithms in art. Programs including: Appy Hour, Art Papers, Birds of a Feather, Courses, Educator’s Forum, Emerging Technologies, Featured Speakers, Frontiers, Immersive Pavilion, Panels, Real-Time Live!, and Talks, will address these subjects.
“I believe SIGGRAPH 2022 is the ideal place to talk about the metaverse, discuss what is happening now, and exchange ideas as to what is possible,” said Munkhtsetseg Nandigjav, SIGGRAPH 2022 Conference Chair. “Our community is made up of creators and innovators. We want to further these discussions and promote how this experience will potentially change lives. We contribute to the variations and transformations occurring in this virtual world, and we can empower these creators to make an impact for the better.”
Highlights that will cover the metaverse include:
[Frontiers Workshop] Challenges to Unlock the Metaverse: Haptics, Gaze, Prototyping Tools, & More!
Contributors: Pedro Lopes, University of Chicago; Michael Nebeling, University of Michigan; Shan-Yuan Teng, University of Chicago; Mark Billinghurst, Empathic Computing Lab, The University of Auckland; Yudai Tanaka, University of Chicago
Advances in augmented and virtual reality have paved the way for a new type of user interface that can connect users remotely via spatial interactions: the metaverse. This workshop will deep dive into some of the roadblocks to unlock the potential of the metaverse. These include integrating haptic sensations, integrating gaze and attention into user interfaces, and accelerating the prototyping of metaverse experiences.
[Panel] Privacy, Safety, and Wellbeing: Solutions for the Future of AR and VR
Moderator: Callie Holderman, Snap Inc.; Panelists: Eakta Jain, University of Florida; Michael Running Wolf, Northeastern University; and Liv Erickson, Mozilla
There have been many discussions about the metaverse as a construct and how it will be populated, while issues such as privacy and safety have not been brought up. This panel touches on these topics.
[Birds of a Feather] The Web3D Ecosystem and the Metaverse
Contributor: Anita Havele, Web3D Consortium
This session features a discussion on how technology contributes to the metaverse. From interactive real-time 3D to mixed reality and humanoid animation, everything done in 3D is significant to an open metaverse. See the scaling expertise in 3D, modeling and simulation, geospatial, augmented reality, and web audio toward an open, interoperable metaverse.
[Courses] Building the Open Metaverse: Part I
Contributors: Patrick Cozzi, Cesium; Marc Petit, Epic Games; Neal Stephenson, Lamina1; Rev Lebaredian, NVIDIA; Natalya Tatarchuk, Unity; Steve May, Pixar Animation Studios
This session features an introduction to the concepts and building blocks for the open metaverse, covering the current state and potential future directions, including: 3D-first computing, interoperability, game engine ecosystems, the evolution of content creation, and scaling users and worlds. The themes of openness and collaboration are woven throughout all the topics.
[Immersive Pavilion] Journal of My Journey: Seamless Interaction in Virtuality and Reality with Digital Fabrication and Sensory Feedback
Contributors: Miguel Ying Jie Then, Ching Lui, Yvone Tsai Chen, Zin Yin Lim, Ping Hsuan Han, National Taipei University of Technology
Journal of My Journey is a work that explores the possibilities of integrating seamless interactions in virtuality and reality. The choices users make in the virtual world can be output to the real world, thus enhancing the connection between reality and the virtual world.
Access to the various metaverse presentations and workshops at SIGGRAPH 2022 are available in person and online. Learn more and register for the conference at s2022.SIGGRAPH.org/register.
About ACM, ACM SIGGRAPH, and SIGGRAPH 2022
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. ACM SIGGRAPH is a special interest group within ACM that serves as an interdisciplinary community for members in research, technology, and applications in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The SIGGRAPH conference is the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational experience showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2022, the 49th annual conference hosted by ACM SIGGRAPH, will take place as a hybrid event, with live events 8–11 August at the Vancouver Contention Centre and virtual content available starting 25 July through 31 October. Click here for news from the conference and its partners.
Today’s video focuses on Unity Software (U 7.89%) and four things I am keeping my eye on as an investor during its earnings on Tuesday, August 8, after the market closes. The past few months have been a rollercoaster for Unity, from a merger announcement to an issue with its monetization solutions, causing the company to revise its guidance. Check out the short video to learn more, consider subscribing, and click the special offer link below.
*Stock prices used were the pre-market prices of August 8, 2022. The video was published on August 8, 2022.
Jose Najarro has positions in Unity Software Inc. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Unity Software Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Jose is an affiliate of The Motley Fool and may be compensated for promoting its services. If you choose to subscribe through his link, he will earn some extra money that supports his channel. His opinions remain his own and are unaffected by The Motley Fool.
Everyone is now familiar with the term “NFTs,” which provide users with decentralized asset ownership and legitimate property through blockchain technology. Similarly, NFT domains are currently trending with a similar approach of giving users ownership rights, but the difference is that these NFT domains can be stored as an asset, used to host a decentralized website, or even change heavy digital wallet addresses to make them human-readable. Quik.com is paving the way for users to mint their very first NFT domains.
Users can establish a presence on the web of the future by choosing from a variety of top-level domains (TLDs), including .metaverse domains, .web3 domains, and .vr domains via Quik.com. The gap between the real world and the virtual world is gradually closing as technology advances at an accelerated rate and as time goes on.
With this shrinking gap, it is anticipated that by the year 2020, 40% of the world’s population will be practically active in the metaverse. Users will also need to establish their existence in the virtual world and construct their identity, and users will be able to host their decentralized identity using NFT domains.
The fundamentals of decentralized web3 technology and blockchain-driven applications support users with a secure web experience and application experience that blocks third-party interference and even eliminates the way centralized organizations distribute user data for providing preference-oriented experiences for users, like ads related to searches. Even users have power over the distribution of data, the optimization of content, and even the uploading of new content thanks to this decentralized web.
What are NFT domains and their correlation to the Metaverse?
The principal access to emerging technologies like the metaverse, web3, virtual reality, and other significant resources is through NFT domains. The Quik ecosystem is designed to support users with these popular NFT TLDs so they may develop not just an establishment but an establishment that is relevant and engaging as well.
The metaverse has made it possible for people to build a virtual haven where they can escape reality and also establish themselves in a virtual world that functions in real-time with the physical world. Users now have the option to link their NFT domains to their metaverse properties, which will improve both the metaverse and the decentralized web3, as well as the users’ metaverse properties.
With the .metaverse NFT domain offered by Quik.com, users can host metaverse web pages or websites as well as modify their metaverse wallet. The possibilities offered by the emerging metaverse have attracted major investors seeking major investment opportunities as well as serving as a source for growing businesses and even personal experiences via investments like virtual reality headsets and metaverse assets providing metaverse education, parties, and even metaverse office culture.
Users’ preferences have dramatically shifted from a 2D immersive experience to a 3D virtual world of the metaverse, which provides an escape that is close to reality and may also be able to help users cope with significant stress from the real world and work as a stress buster.
NFT domains and Web3 technology
The natural transition from web2 to web3 has given rise to several opportunities for tech-focused businesses and communities, as well as a hot topic for techies. The user-oriented systems and applications that let users manage their content, as well as their identity and data, are the main emphasis of this decentralized progression.
Although traditional TLDs like.com and.gov have generated a lot of attention online, ICANN, a centralized organization in charge of domain management, controls and manages these domains.
Although they are technically not the rightful owners of these domains, even though the users of these domains are the ones who are authorized to use the domain and website. These domains that users acquire are technically centralized property because the central authority decides what content will be published and has the power to remove any content or user if it so intends.
This is because the centralized web2 is commercialized and focuses more on businesses than users. Once the centralized authority decides to, users will no longer have access to their accounts or even the content.
Decentralized NFT domains are the exact antithesis of these centralized domains and authorities, and the distinguishing characteristic that sets them apart from one another is that they are user-oriented and focus more on user preference and user privacy.
What is Quik.com?
Quik.com is a P2P NFT domain marketplace that provides users with significant TLDs to create web3, metaverse, virtual reality, and digital experiences using a blockchain-driven technology that adjusts via each sector and gives users control over their data and a safe decentralized web experience.
The Quik ecosystem enables users to interact and communicate with other users as well as locate the NFT domains they have acquired and also exchange, trade, sell, and even purchase these domains using a follow registry that provides users with a list of users who own NFT domains as well as filters of available domains and taking names to make it simple for users to choose their NFT domain name.
The fundamental benefit that these domains provide users is that they cannot be copied. The domain registry provides customers with a list of domains that other users have purchased, but because these domains employ blockchain technology, it is impossible to replicate them.
Users can take advantage of the marketplace opportunity that enables them to communicate with other users to negotiate to acquire a certain domain that has already been minted by another user.
TLDs on Quik.com Explained:
While these rapidly evolving tech genres are always generating excitement among the tech community, these NFT domains allow users to connect their digital advancements, present these industries and even refresh their portfolio, giving them a unique experience.
Benefits of NFT domains on Quik.com
The Quik.com NFT domains have significant advantages that allow users to have a decentralized experience and even progress alongside the web toward a virtual world with significant potential for the future and a world where everything is digital.
The main advantage is that it enables users to host decentralized websites with their preferred NFT domains, which represent the content that a website is holding. This results in a tech-related experience that gives audiences a clear picture of what the website contains because the Quik.com NFT domain is integrated into your website.
Another is that users can use NFT domains to convert their lengthy wallet addresses into human-readable names, which will eventually simplify exchange processes and make it even easier to remember your digital wallet rather than relying on the copy/paste method.
Soon, Quik.com will debut The Goodplace, its metaverse where users can purchase real estate, advertise, and even conduct business in a manner akin to that of the physical world.
Owners of Quik.com will undoubtedly benefit greatly from the upcoming metaverse project, and other users will eventually be able to connect their metaverse assets and property to the metaverse NFT domain offered on Quik.com, which will significantly improve your property and the virtual marketplace experience.
Join Quik’s telegraph group – https://t.me/quikcom
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