FOX Sports has decided to put a public virtual during broadcasts of the matches of the MLB.
Fans virtual of FOX Sports. © FOX Sports
If many of the sporting competitions have already taken over the world, for the moment, most of the meetings are closed to the public. To try to fill the void, spectators in cardboard were placed on the seats of the stands, for some meetings. And in the United States, FOX Sports has decided to go further, using technology in augmented reality to fill the stands with fake spectators during the live broadcast.
“Not fans ? Not on FOX Sports. Thousands of fans virtual will attend the games of the MLB (baseball) on FOX this Saturday “, had mentioned the chain in a tweet published last week.
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
“We believe that the crowd and see people sitting is part of a broadcast, that this is part of the dissemination of sports to a high level in the major leagues. Therefore, we wanted to find a solution for this “, explained Brad Zager, executive producer at FOX Sports, relayed by our colleagues from The Verge. The idea is not to fool the viewers, but rather to ensure that there is more “normalcy” in broadcasts of the matches.
Try to fill the void
As explained in The Verge, to create these fans virtual, FOX Sports, uses an augmented reality software called Pixotope, based on Unreal Engine, a technology that is very popular with developers of video games.
But if the idea is interesting, the result, for the moment, has not convinced everyone. On Twitter, a lot of people have mentioned a number of inconsistencies that have been able to make the live broadcast, strange as the fact that the fake fans appear to be on an angle, but not on another.
The virtual crowd is kinda… freaky. pic.twitter.com/eutj2r3EAe
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) July 25, 2020
There is also the fact that the behaviors of these fake fans are sometimes not natural and that there may be offsets.
Fox’s digital fans gotta go. Just a ton of dudes alternating resting their chin in their hand and then 2-second delayed reactions. pic.twitter.com/fLh7EYXTMX
— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) July 25, 2020
But the good news is that FOX Sports has the intention to improve this new experience, little by little. And it is always possible that if the result becomes better, other chains could follow.
For its part, the NBA has opted for another solution. The league, in the framework of its strategic partnership with Microsoft, uses Microsoft Teams and the functionality Together Mode, to broadcast images of real fans on big screens around the ground.
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