Heat's impressive debut in virtual world | Big Bash League BBL

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Heat's impressive debut in virtual world

21 October 2016

Inside the Gabba dressing room with the Brisbane Heat's virtual reality experience

Big Bash club have boldly - and successfully - gone where no Australian sporting side has gone before

While there's an ever-increasing trend towards it, the concept of 'virtual reality' remains an abstract one to the average Joe.

Which makes the Brisbane Heat's bold steps into the area all the more impressive.

Heat's Virtual Reality - a how-to guide


Two months out from the sixth season of the KFC Big Bash League, the franchise has launched 'Heat VR', in which the user – the writer in this case, but generally the fans – virtually tours the Heat dressing rooms before stepping on to the middle of the Gabba to face an over from Ben Cutting.

Quick Single: Heat launch world-first VR experience

Skipping the technical details regarding the ins and outs of what is clearly a very sophisticated piece of technology, the bare bones are these: the user dons a set of digital goggles and a pair of headphones, and they're transported into the Gabba's home changeroom.

Heat star Chris Lynn dons the virtual goggles
Heat star Chris Lynn dons the virtual goggles

There they are welcomed by Chris Lynn, and as they virtually make their way around the room (the full 360 degrees – you're really immersed in this experience), they find themselves part of a squad warming up for their next Big Bash hit-out.

Then it's down to business.

The user is presented with a bat (both virtually and in the real world – a very unusual sensation when you literally grip the handle) and next minute, they are in the middle, with Cutting at the top of his mark.

It's a little like stepping inside a video game.

A green circle highlights the point at which the user takes their mark, and without further ado, they're tapping their bat on the virtual pitch as the bowler approaches.

Whether they swing like a rusty gate (as I did for at least the first three or four deliveries) or unfurl a Chris Lynn-like straight drive into the packed stands beyond the boundary, the experience is a genuinely fun, unique one.

A snapshot of Ben Cutting in the virtual Gabba world
A snapshot of Ben Cutting in the virtual Gabba world

The over passes quickly as the user learns to hone their skills and a total from six balls flashes up on the Gabba scoreboard, to be later emailed to the user, and available to be shared for bragging rights on their preferred social media channel.

The Heat are taking their bold new VR experience to shopping centres across Brisbane from Monday (October 24), and it will also appear at the first Commonwealth Bank Test against Pakistan from December 15 as well as at the franchise's BBL warm-up matches on the Sunshine Coast.

The virtual experience continues via the Heat app, which offers fans a unique behind-the-scenes perspective hosted by Cutting and Rebel Women's Big Bash League quick Holly Ferling.

Then there's the use of augmented reality, utilised through the app and bringing to life playing cards featuring Heat and WBBL Heat players, as well as at-match promotional posters and match-day tickets.

Over the next few years we're bound to see this sort of technology become mainstream on the Australian sporting landscape.

For now though, the Heat have blazed the trail, and the results align seamlessly with the Big Bash's core values – a fun, easy, entertaining experience for the whole family.

More information on Heat VR here

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

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Brisbane Heat WBBL

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