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May 15, 2015
William Hill and UNIT9 production studio come together to create the first product in the world, providing live sporting events in the virtual reality for customers.
The bookmaker from the UK, William Hill is examining the possibility of joint use of a new mobile betting application with the fixture for smartphones Google Cardboard virtual reality (VR). For the creation of the project ‘Get in the Race’, William Hill has attracted a production studio Unit9. The essence of the project is to allow the app users to see the road through the eyes of a jockey riding a horse with a 360° view through a combination of GPS coordinates of the Racecourse and VR technology from Google. Moreover, the betting process will be fulfilled via the technology of heads-up display that reacts to the movement of the user’s eyes.
As Crispin Nieboer, the corporate development and innovation director at William Hills informed The Drum they are aiming to give “the thrill of the ride” to online players.
The studio Unit9 has received the data from the past races at Kempton Park and begun to rebuild a racing engine of 3D VR. Google Cardboard VR, the cost of which in the UK is 8 pounds, was chosen as the optimal device for the prototype of a new betting product. The competitor brand by Facebook, Oculus Rift, was estimated as too expensive and therefore, its use was abandoned, as William Hill is hoped that eventually this product will be released to the mass market.
Nevertheless, in the future, William Hill plans to offer more advanced settings of its application that will assume the use of traditional VR headset. There are even plans to develop a special device that will recreate the experience of the rider on the chosen horse.
Henry Crowley, the creative director at Unit9 is sure that their creation “has the potential to be a full blown product”.
William Hill has unveiled a prototype of its new app at Digital Shoreditch festival, which started on Monday and runs until May 24.
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