VR Live Pass, Samsung’s 360-degree video livestream partnership for Gear VR, continues in July with live coverage of the X Games Minneapolis. Samsung is offering unique access to live events this summer free for all Gear VR users, which began with the recent UFC 212 bout in Rio de Janeiro.

After the X Games, a music concert with an “international artist” promoted by Live Nation will be streamed in August from the USA, although details are yet to be confirmed. “We are excited to offer Samsung Gear VR users the opportunity to experience their favorite live music and sporting events through our industry-leading VR ecosystem,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics. “Partnering with these companies to expand our VR services helps us to open up a new gateway of opportunities for fans and demonstrate our commitment to delivering experiences that make the seemingly impossible, possible.”

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The Gear VR headset has certainly enjoyed a wealth of 360-degree content since its launch in 2015. In terms of live sporting events, it dominates the space, with exclusive apps not found on other mobile VR platforms or higher-quality VR headsets on PC and PlayStation. This is largely attributed to its early arrival to market and relative affordability, making it the single largest VR platform in the world. In addition to the UFC 212 coverage, Gear VR owners were recently offered unique access to PGA Tour golf livestreaming, and Major League Baseball just revealed a new three-year partnership with Intel to bring weekly coverage of games using their True VR technology.

From July 13th to 16th, US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will host the Summer X Games 2017. The annual extreme sports event features skateboarding, BMX and motocross, and will be livestreamed in 360 video for the first time. Gear VR owners will be able to watch some of the best riders and skaters compete, including Jimmy Wilkins, Chad Kerley and Jagger Eaton.

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“The X Games is the premier action sports event that continually provides a platform for athletic progression,” said Tim Reed, Vice President, ESPN X Games. “From never been done tricks to awe-inspiring competition, Samsung’s Gear VR technology is perfect to showcase dynamic action sports to viewers across the world.”

While this kind of free content is great news for Gear VR owners, it’s about time VR sports coverage became more platform-agnostic. Leading live event VR broadcaster NextVR’s move to support both Gear VR and Daydream devices is a step in the right direction, but there’s still plenty to improve upon, namely some missing pieces like social interaction and multi-device support.

Check out more about VR Live Pass here.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Christenh

    This sounds really interesting. But I just watched the UFC videos in Samsung VR and found the live streaming is actually just in regular video format with a 360 CG environment. It’s not even 180 degree! I couldn’t believe my eyes and watched all the 5 videos in this series. Both Aldo & Holloway game and another 212 game by two female players are in regular video format. Only the other three pre-recorded videos are in 360 VR. I am too disappointed……Do you want us think we are watching VR as long as we are wearing a Gear VR headset??