Virtual reality mobile social engagement and content platform Zeality, Inc. shows what an emerging VR ecosystem will look like with its mobile app filled with 360-video and VR content. The Zeality app is available in both the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store and is compatible with Google Cardboard, Gear VR—and videos can be simply viewed by moving the phone/tablet around. The company is also reaching out to VR content producers to join a contest to potentially become the crew producing VR content for the San Francisco 49ers football team.
In many ways, Zeality is a great deal like a YouTube for 360-degree/VR video with content verticals, channels and categories that contain videos that viewers can visit, view and subscribe to. To set itself apart from the upcoming VR video offerings from others in the industry (such as YouTube and Facebook), Zeality is using partnerships with venues to produce exclusive and engaging content.
The Zeality ecosystem and app launched in May of this year, focusing on content creators and brands as a vehicle for the medium. As part of brand leadership, Zeality partnered with the San Francisco 49ers, Visa, RYOT News, and Reebok to become a pipeline for content related to their brands and entertainment generated for these venues.
In one particular big move, detailed further below, Zeality’s partnership with the San Francisco 49ers will open up a first-of-its-kind virtual reality show headed by the winners of a contest to produce 360-video/VR content for the sports team.
Zeality’s approach to VR and content delivery has already scored them attention from VR industry venture capital. Earlier this month, Rothenberg Ventures seized the opportunity to invest in the emerging marketplace.
“Zeality is a scrappy, lean company building an ecosystem grounded in the very real promise held by VR and 360° content,” said Mike Rothenberg, who serves as CEO of Rothenberg Ventures. “We expect them to be making a lot of noise in this space and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
As a mobile, social and content marketplace, Zeality is moving into a segment of the VR market predicted to make up 87 percent of the predicted $865 million market in 2016.
Dipak Patel, CEO of Zeality told SiliconANGLE in an interview that the company wants to partner with as many next-gen technology and production companies as it can to help shape the space that content will grow into.
“We want to partner with all of these technology companies and build out this platform to find the next-gen content creators that are out there,” Patel said. Part of this plan includes partnering with brands and content producers in a way that has never been seen before and this roadmap is being borne out in the upcoming Zeality 360 Shootout/Hackathon starting in June.
Into the future of VR entertainment hackathon: The Zeality 360 Shootout
The “Zeality 360 Shootout at Levi’s Stadium” is a first-of-its-kind hackathon for VR entertainment producers, themselves in an emerging entertainment space, will bring teams together in a two-day Shootout/Hackathon to produce the best 360-degree/VR video. Aside from a cash prize, winners will get the opportunity to produce the Game Day VR video for the San Francisco 49ers.
Zeality believes that Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, home to the San Francisco 49ers football team, becomes the perfect venue for the Shootout because there’s a lot of room to maneuver in the VR market when it comes to approaching sports entertainment. The capability of VR video to immersively place fans right into the action (or at least right in the seats or sidelines) sets it apart from current 2D media.
Registration for the Shootout begins on June 1, 2016 and digital submissions officially open. Each team will submit their best 360-degree/VR one- to three-minute video to the Zeality app for consideration in the competition. The deadline for these submissions is at 5pm Pacific Time, Friday July 8, 2016.
The uploads will then be voted on by the Zeality community and teams with the highest numbers of votes will go on to the semi-finals. During which those teams will be reviewed by “a blue ribbon panel of Hollywood and Silicon Valley VR Industry leaders” and other experts who will determine the five finalists.
On August 26, the five finalist teams will be announced at halftime during the San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers game at Levi’s Staduim. They will go on to September 27 and 28 when the five teams will go head to head in the stadium itself for the two-day hackathon and at the end of day-two the winner will be determined.
The winner will then go on for an opportunity to produce 360-degree/VR video for the San Francisco 49ers, becoming some of the first VR production crews to work professionally in the sports entertainment industry.
Featured image credit: Zeality, Inc.
Kyt Dotson is a Senior Editor at SiliconAngle and works to cover beats surrounding DevOps, security, gaming, and cutting edge technology. Before joining SiliconAngle, Kyt worked as a software engineer starting at Motorola in Q&A to eventually settle at Pets911.com where he helped build a vast database for pet adoption and a lost and found system. Kyt is a published author who writes science fiction and fantasy works that incorporate ideas from modern-day technological innovation and explore the outcome of living with those technologies.
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