The partnership announced onstage at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. is the first, very vague, very nebulous, use case for Magic Leap (at least that I’ve heard).
The experiences sound a lot like virtual reality, with fans being able to experience what it’s like to be courtside at games.
“Before we got involved with Magic Leap the goal was to replicate the courtside experience,” says NBA commissioner Adam Silver. With Magic Leap, there are more opportunities to have different experiences.
“It takes everything you love about normal television and amplifies it,” says Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap’s chief executive officer.
Silver described the three-way partnership as a way for people to take the games they see on TNT and watch them on Magic Leap’s specs.
Abovitz described Magic Leap as a premium computer that will have a price to match. “It’s not necessarily for everyone right away,” says Abovitz.
Steeped in mystery, both Silver and Abovitz have taken a “trust us” approach to describing the technology. The two men didn’t have the Magic Leap onstage, but did show a video of Shaquille O’Neal singing the technology’s praises.
“Imagine being able to conjure up, four, six or eight screens. You’re seeing all of that in stats and data. Let’s say this amazing moment and there’s a twirl dunk that smashes the backboard and all of a sudden that shows up,” says Abovitz.
O’Neal isn’t the first basketball star to take a gander at the world through Magic Leap’s lenses. Last year, Andre Iguodala spilled some of the beans about the company’s technology.
My colleague, Lucas Matney, wrote up a description of the Magic Leap headset back when it was first revealed:
The headset is pretty similar to designs that have come out previously in patents and leaks, the bulkiness of the front of the headset is perhaps slightly surprising however and the size of the frames might call into question just how large Magic Leap has been able to expand the headset’s field-of-view. Though the company said it was using its “Digital Lightfield” technology, we still don’t actually know what that means and whether they are using true light field tech or something that can simply fake it. The startup detailed that in addition to the controller, the headset will utilize voice, gesture, head pose and eye-tracking input.In an interview with Rolling Stone, the company said users will be able to purchase prescription lenses and the headset itself will come in two sizes.
On the software side, Magic Leap is highlighting their platform’s ability. A Creator Portal will be coming in “early 2018” that should give developers more to work with including documentation, tools and resources.
A lot is still unclear about what the company is aiming for in terms of a consumer release, but what is clear is that this design is based on what Magic Leap thinks it will be able to accomplish, it was sure to note in the announcement that the “product is continually advancing and may be different at time of shipment.”
While some NBA owners may look at Magic Leap as building a competitive experience to the actual games in the arena, Silver noted that three owners of NBA teams were actually investors in the technology company.
This story is developing and we will update it as we can.