Meta sees the VR fitness revolution and will make its next headsets “sweatproof”
When Meta – then known as Facebook – bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, the virtual reality headset was set to become a home for next-gen gaming. What the social network hadn’t anticipated was the adoption of fitness-themed apps for working out in virtual reality.
“I now have a completely different mindset as to where VR gaming is going. Where it’s going, I think, is it’s going to revolutionize fitness,” Rob Shaw, director, said on Wednesday. of Meta’s North American Sports Partnerships, at SportTechie’s State Of The Industry conference. He spoke at the “Engaging Fans in the Metaverse” panel alongside Candy Digital Chief Marketing Officer Andre Llewellyn and Atlanta Braves Vice President of Marketing and Innovation Greg Mize.
Meta sparked its fitness push last November with its acquisition of virtual reality fitness app Supernatural. With VR apps that cover boxing, dancing, and other comprehensive workouts, Meta is building its next Quest headset to be “sweatproof.”
“The next iteration we’re going to have of our current Quest 2 product is to make the headset more sweat resistant, so the controllers have a better grip,” Shaw said. “People are using our platform to train, and it’s not necessarily something that we intended. We now have creators developing these games for people to be active on. So I think the game is going to change at many ways.
Last month, the NFL partnered with StatusPro to develop a virtual reality football game. This game, which will be available on Meta’s Quest and PlayStation VR headsets, will prioritize movement – such as users performing physical throwing motions – while playing quarterback in its virtual football environment.
Meta also partnered with the NFL around Super Bowl LVI to allow fans to dress their digital avatars in Rams and Bengals branded apparel. Digital clothing was free to buy on Meta’s platforms, but the company expects users to end up paying for their virtual avatar swag.
“Our intention is to develop a market where these jerseys or shirts can be sold,” Shaw said. “There will be a business model where the money can go back to leagues and teams or whoever owns the intellectual property.”