NFL’s Newest MVP: VR

Football fans may be miffed that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation or postponement of the 2020 seasons of both the NFL and NCAA. There are, however, are a few surprises popping up to tide them over until things get back to normal. And, virtual reality tech being as compelling as it is, especially when dealing with the heights of human achievement, these surprises are well and truly treats for VR fans too.

NFL Next 2020
Image: NFL Next 2020

NFL Next is branded as “the VR fan experience” and aims to bring football lovers much closer to the action than any previous media tech would allow. Something of a meeting of 24/7 sports television and video games like Madden NFL ’20, NFL Next serves up a range of moderately advanced VR experiences. Player biometrics and stats, environmental conditions, and even ill-tempered coaches ranting at their players are all factors of NFL Next but the focus is clearly on placing VR users on the field.

2020’s Most Virtual Player

Lamar Jackson - Status Pro
Image: Status Pro / Blachwood LLC: Marcell Pickens, Jr.

If your dreams of NFL stardom fit well with the accomplishments of Baltimore Ravens quarterback and 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, you’ll soon have a chance to walk in his shoes, watch plays unfold from his field position, and bask in the adulation of thousands should you make that perfect pass. From developer Status Pro (formerly known as ByteCubed Labs), makers of VR training suites for major sporting entities, ‘The Lamar Jackson Experience’ will plant users in the MVP’s cleats for a variety of activities and adventures only available through VR.

“Like most people from my generation I am a huge gamer,” Jackson said in an official press release. “The first time I demo’d the Status Pro experience I was blown away by how realistic and fun it was. Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in the NFL and now that I do, I am excited about sharing my experience with fans and especially kids through this VR gaming platform.”

The Next Big Play

Details on this forthcoming release are still largely under wraps but it’s likely at least one of Jackson’s branded VR experiences will utilize Oculus Go and/or Quest compatibility. Whether tied to Oculus alone or usable on any quality VR headset, The Lamar Jackson Experience is an indication of where sports (and much of the entertainment world) is headed. Keeping fans glued to their seats now takes a lot more active involvement and this ground-breaking VR experience is setting the stage for a new breed of sports super-fan.

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