An idea: Augmented reality gaming in sports stadiums

First of all, apologies to those that usually visit my blog for careers or social media related posts, but I’ve had an idea that I would like to share. It is kind of relevant, as it features the same functionality as the Augmented Reality Uni Apps that we have created at Prospects – the first of which, York St John University, is now available for download from iTunes.

First of all some background. In its simplest terms, augmented reality (AR) involves super-imposing information on top of a view as seen through a camera linked to a computer or mobile device. Mobile AR gaming involves super-imposing a game over the top of the view as seen through the camera of your mobile device. A simple example of this is a game called Mosquitoes and there is a Star Wars Tie Fighter mobile AR game, which looks amazing when being played whilst looking out over New York City.  Whether you’re sat in your living room or looking out over a park, as long as you have a device with an accelerometer and a camera you can play mobile AR games that are superimposed over your view. In layman’s terms the equipment you will need is an iPhone 3GS or better, or a smartphone made within the last couple of years.

I believe that this technology could offer a fantastic opportunity for the world of sports. Prior to a game or sporting event commencing the crowd, using the actual playing field, could play the sport they are about to watch – each being able to say afterwards that they had played at Wembley, ran the 100m in the London Olympics or converted a penalty kick at Twickenham (see mock-up below – excuse shabby Photoshopping). The interest around the sport in question as a result of this sort of app would be massive, with potential to create video content of the games being played and videos taken of a stand full of people all glued to their mobile devices. These ‘crowd in unison’ videos have worked well in recent T-Mobile campaigns.

To inspire additional uptake, fans that could not make it to the stadium would also be able to play in-browser from their home computer. The game would simply be transposed onto a video feed of the field of play. This opens up the potential for a match-making scenario similar to xBox Live or the Playstation Network (minus the security leaks) and would provide heaps of exposure for that sport.

Additional functionality should also include:

  • Option to download the AR game app via QR codes on tickets and in-stadium banners
  • Additional advertising opportunities for sponsors, who could brand loading pages and super-impose their adverts onto the field of play
  • Match-making against opposing fans
  • Prizes for top performers (e.g. tickets for top scorer of the season, chance to meet players/athletes)
  • Users can share their result via social media platforms
  • Function to record screen activity to share via a hall of fame and social media channels, as well as creating a memento of stadium experience
  • Disabling the AR game once sport event commences

Whether or not this could be turned around in time for London 2012, I don’t know. But if you were able to play an AR version of Track & Field, then surely you’d take it right?

There is a great blog post from Scott Anthony regarding the slow uptake of AR. I feel that the mass exposure that the world of sports offers would thrust AR into the spotlight. Add your comments, I would love to hear thoughts.


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