It is one thing for US football fans to be able to watch the Super Bowl, but it would be quite another to actually participate in it. With the latest technology built by Replay Technologies – an Israeli-based company – that is now possible. Be the Player is an immersive game experience based on the free-D feature that Replay Technologies developed (a firm that was purchased by Intel in March 2016).
Game players can actually experience for themselves first-downs and fumbles from the viewpoint of the play thanks to Intel’s 360 Replay, also developed in Israel. The way it worked at the 2017 Super Bowl was that 38 5K cameras (with a 5,000 pixel resolution) were installed at the Houston stadium which were able to give viewers who were “the Player” “immersive experiences.” The added benefit was that the players were not impacted at all; there was no need for them to wear any devices.
As James Carwana, Sports Group General Manager at Intel pointed out:
“This technology is absolutely changing the game. Fans are going to be able to watch the game not just from the sidelines, but from the center of the field. It’s an incredible medium that creates amazing new sports experiences.” He added that with the area digitized, the technology creates a ““three-dimensional voxel” – or cube – instead of a two-dimensional pixel.”
The sentiment was echoed by FOX Sports, when Senior VP of Field and Technical Operations, Michael Davies said that a virtual reality service is created that broadcasts the game, giving players a video game-like experience. He
added that “the cameras, backed up by a huge bank of Intel computing power, allow a moment to be recreated in 3D space, so that a ‘virtual camera’ can be placed at the player’s eye line – not unlike how limitless camera views can be created in video games.”
Prior to the game, player Tom Brady was featured in a commercial with the tagline “Intel 360 Replay makes anything look epic – literally anything,” with him adding “wait till you see it in the game.” Much research and testing went into this, with three offline tests conducted by Intel and FOX Labs at the Santa Clara Levi’s Stadium.
This is not the first time Intel’s 360 Replay has been used for something revolutionary in the gaming industry. Basketball fans who were at the 2016 All-Star game were able to access Replay Technologies’ free-D video format, equipping 3 stadiums with the technology with the positioning at the time of 28 HD cameras to capture video that can be compiled into one shot. But this just takes it to the next level!