One of the world’s oldest competitive games is to get the immersive video treatment as this November’s World Championship is streamed live in 360 video.
Yes, you read that right. The 2016 Chess World Championships are to set to be beamed to VR headsets everywhere in 360 degree video when they get underway this November.
Ilya Merenzon, the Chief Executive of World Chess by Agon Ltd, the commercial rights holder to the World Chess Championship, says, “We are proud to announce that chess, one of the oldest sports in the world, is creating a global first: a totally new and immersive way of watching a contest that will captivate hundreds of millions of new and existing fans.”
The Championship final is between Magnus Carlsen, the reigning World Champion from Norway, and challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia; the event will take place this November in New York.
But if you’re thinking of just casually dropping into the stream for free you may be disappointed. The broadcast is a pay-per-view / subscription event with a ticket to the entire championship (up to 12 games) costing $15, with individual games costing $1.25.
If you’re sat there reading this, struggling to think of a sport least likely to inspire enthusiasm in virtual reality than Chess, you’re probably not alone; then again, perhaps the tense intimacy of the sport relayed through immersive broadcasting may open the door to a new audience.