File image: IOL

INTERNATIONAL - The Fifa World Cup has officially kicked off and matches will run over the course of the next month, leading up to the finals on July 15th, 2018.


However, for the first time, you’ll be able to enjoy a few select World Cup matches in Virtual Reality (VR). It will be made possible through the Oculus Go- and Samsung VR platforms.

These platform venues were first introduced back in May as a VR experience placing viewers within a simulated stadium for sports games and events. 

How it will work:

Select games will be live-streamed for free in Venues courtesy of Fox Sports, starting with Germany and Mexico's game on June 17th.

Other select World Cup events are available in certain countries within the Oculus platform through dedicated providers such as: 

1. UK can see BBC SportVR programming.

2. While US viewers can watch Fox Sports.

GRAND SPECTACLE: The opening ceremony of the 2018 Fifa World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, yesterday. Picture: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

There's a selection that's only available to Gear VR owners such as:

 1. Viewers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela can watch DIRECTV Sports VR.

2.  In Greece, you can watch ERT VR;

3. In France, MYTF1 VR: Coupe du Monde de la FIFA; Australians can enjoy SBS } Optus FIFA; and 

4. Telemundo Deportes VR programming is available in the US. 

All the above content must be unlocked in your region's app by authenticating through your pay TV provider.

Fox Sports and Telemundo, which are showing the World Cup on TV and online in the US, will be streaming all 64 matches live in VR for those with TV subscriptions.

Fox’s experience will usher fans into a virtual suite where they can create customizable avatars and watch the VR live stream with friends and other viewers. 

Users will be able connect with friends via Facebook, or find other fans at random to share the event. 

The experience was created in partnership with the social VR streaming startup LiveLike. 

The VR streams will be available on the Fox Sports VR app. 

It only requires a smartphone and works with both iOS and Android devices.

Additionally, You’ll need to login with a pay-TV provider to access the matches.

Telemundo’s VR experience for Spanish speakers will also take place in a virtual lounge.

 The matches will be shown live in 180-degree video, with highlights and goals in 360-degree video, via the Telemundo Deportes VR app. 

It will also require a pay-TV subscription to view all of the matches.

Oculus Venues is also making four matches available in VR for free via Fox Sports. The app is available on the Oculus Go and Gear VR:

June 17: Germany versus Mexico

June 20: Portugal versus Morocco

June 22: Brazil versus Costa Rica

June 24: England versus Panama