President Had just seen the future.
It was a Stanley Cup Playoff Game in May. The Kings had some pretty dizzying imagery displayed on their arena video screens. They even included 3D images of players.
“It wasn't that cool,” said the Hockey Hall of Famer. “The guys were changing off the ice. While all this was happening, we had our mascot dancing on the top of them.”
“You had to do a double-take. It's a completely different experience than anyone has seen before. As an organization, it is important to experiment with new things.
In this instance, the Metaverse was the new thing. It is a network 3D virtual realms that are focused on social interaction. The Kings were the first NHL team that used volumetric technology to film their players.
Tetavi, an Israeli company, was partnered by The Kings to create two videos that showcased the potential for immersive technology throughout the Metaverse.
Tetavi brought his portable production studio with him and set it up at the Kings practice rink in El Segundo, on April 1. Los Angeles players, like, , , , The eight cameras captured their moves as they skated along in full gear. This same technique was used to film Bailey the Kings' lion-mascot, dancing and banging on a drum.
Check out how the Kings innovate with immersive new technology for their arena screens.
This type of venture used to involve players traveling to remote studios for an all-day shoot. The Kings were amazed at the four-hour time it took to set up and film at their practice rink. The players were in an intense playoff race.
Tetavi created the models of the players at their studios using the footage and machine-learning technology. The Kings' playoff series against each other featured the final product..
“It was a pleasure working alongside the players and Bailey, to bring this in game activation to life. We have ambitious plans for supercharging engagement for Kings fans across the globe,” Gilad Talmon, Tetavi CEO, said. “This is a major milestone in our mission to democratize volumetric tech.”
These videos were not shown in VR, but on arena's screens. These videos were a glimpse of the potential for volumetric capture. It wasn't difficult to imagine a fan immersed themselves in the Metaverse while 3D Kings players spin around them or an expanding army Baileys pound their drums.
Robitaille explained that “when they brought it to me, we thought it would be an opportunity to create another view of games entertainment and a different communication to the fans.”
He couldn't help thinking about what might be next.
He stated that he sees the potential for a postgame element where fans could be near the players. “You could imagine where we could make fun things where people are either behind the bench or in the penalty box alongside the players. This would be an exciting part of the game, something no one has ever seen before.
The Metaverse is where the NHL is only beginning to explore its potential. The Kings were using volumetric capture technology while the Metaverse was being explored by the NHL.The NHL's first Metaverse shopping environment was introduced. Blues Experiential Reality was an immersive Metaverse experience, accessible from any device. It featured a 3D photorealistic locker area that could be used as a showroom and merchandise display.
The league is working with companies to find ways to view games through an Oculus headset that uses the NHL's player- and puck-tracking technology. This could be a gateway to more involvement in the Metaverse.
Many VR innovations by the NHL are targeted at younger fans.
“How can we create an interactive experience for the kids at the hockey game?” Dave Lehanski was the NHL's executive Vice President of Business Development and Innovation. He discussed these ideas at a New Jersey technology show earlier this year. “What we want to accomplish is take this experience and add things that people have never thought of.”
Robitaille admitted that, but doesn't believe technology will be enough to captivate young fans. It should be worth their effort.
Robitaille stated, “You would be lying to say you weren't trying reach a younger audience.” “But, I believe that for us, what's most important is to try something different and take risks.
“People will search for what you are doing if it's done right. This is what I prefer over any trick to get the kids to come in. Those kids aren't fools. They know what's cool. They go to Coachella [tickets] They don't even know which bands they are listening to.”
The NHL expects other teams to explore the Metaverse this season. They are curious about the technology's capabilities and how they can integrate it into their marketing and fan communications plans.
Robitaille believes that the Kings will continue to be a team at the forefront of experimentation.
“If you have an idea, call the L.A. Kings. We'll give it another shot. He stated that he believed this was important.