NBA video games in digital actuality have potential. This is what watching one is like

Jabari Young wears the Oculus Quest 2 device.

Source: Jabari Young

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka emerged from the team bench and before I knew it he was blocking my view. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was close enough that I could see his Cole Haan boots and I saw a Lance Stephenson 3 pointer from an angle I had never seen before.

These are just some of my recent experiences watching an NBA game while wearing a virtual reality headset.

The National Basketball Association is offering virtual courtside courts Meta‘s $299 Oculus Quest 2 devices. The headsets were one of the most popular Christmas presents in 2021, showing that people seem more willing than ever to try virtual reality. And companies are trying to keep tabs on their content by creating VR versions of their apps and games.

An Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and controller captured on September 28, 2020.

Phil Barker | future | Getty Images

The NBA experience is free and available on Meta’s Horizon Venues platform, which is a free software download for the Oculus headset. People appear as digital avatars, much like cartoon versions of their real selves, watching an NBA game from the perspective of the court. It’s not Jack Nicholson’s seat of the Los Angeles Lakers Arena or Spike Lee’s seat in Madison Square Garden, but it almost replicates reality.

From a business standpoint, the deal could give the NBA new media rights, which is important when regional sports networks struggle.

Meanwhile, Meta — the company formerly known as Facebook — is leveraging its partnership with esports providers like the NBA, WWE, and the Premier League to give people new reasons to try virtual reality.

Mark Zuckerberg’s company is investing $10 billion in the Metaverse, a virtual world he believes will become the standard for social networking, gaming, and even work.

Meta sent CNBC the Oculus 2 headset last month. I witnessed the January 10th game in the NBA between the Celtics and the Pacers. Here’s what you need to know.

Celtics Jaylen Brown drives to the basket in a NBA regular season basketball game at TD Garden in Boston on January 10, 2022 between Pacers Jeremy Lamb (left) and Myles Turner (right).

Jim Davis | Boston Globe | Getty Images

The experience is not “garbage”

First, you should know that if you live in the market where an NBA game is being televised, you are prohibited from watching. The NBA uses RSN feeds from their League Pass product, and local markets are subject to the same pesky restrictions you encounter elsewhere.

Once in game you will immediately notice other avatars participating in live discussions. The closeness of the plot also catches your attention. This is where you immerse yourself in the experience, as it actually feels like you’re sitting in a pitchside seat, right down to the level of engagement with fans nearby.

There are two levels in the digital space where you can follow the game. The first level is usually where the crowd watches the chatter, and that evening I counted about 15 people in the room in the first quarter.

The balcony level is quieter for a more private setting and the view is ok.

Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with an avatar with their mic on, especially if you need help navigating what looks like two levels of a private social club.

When the Celtics were leading 23-18 in the first quarter, an avatar approached me and asked for help watching. I was confused at first as my stream was fine but it became clear that the real person behind the avatar had a bad connection or was restricted due to local lockdown rules.

That prompted him to call the NBA’s Metaverse experience “garbage.” Moments later, I asked another avatar standing next to me what he thought of the experience.

“That’s dope,” replied the avatar named “TUtley.” “You have to get that for football.”

The scenic views of Boston that emerged during game breaks were also quite impressive and made me feel like I was in the city where the game is being played.

The minuses: interference and picture quality

“Yo man! Are you okay?” I heard one avatar ask another.

The avatar in question was slumped and unresponsive. It almost seemed like the Metaverse character was having a fit.

The avatar eventually regained its form and began to speak, but that mistake was certainly odd.

The controllers are your hands in the metaverse, so it can be weird to see avatars nearby with their hands and arms misaligned with their bodies.

In the fourth quarter, Stephenson pinned a 3-pointer and Pacers forward Torrey Craig then converted a layup to reduce the Celtics’ lead to three, 71-68.

Witnessing the tight sequence was fun, but the relatively poor image quality eventually made itself felt. TV and video providers have spoiled viewers with high definition games. Every small difference in quality is quickly noticed.

The NBA is partnering with a VR production company Media Monks to show the games on the Oculus platform.

During the NBA’s pandemic “bubble” season in Orlando, the company used Sony’s FX6 cameras, which cost about $6,000to shoot VR games. This season, however, games will be shot using Sony FX9 cameras, which cost about $11,000.

However, Meta often experiments with the resolution and frame rates of the VR games, which are still technically in “beta” or test mode. Media Monks places five cameras in NBA arenas, but added a sixth for the Celtics-Pacers game to capture a sense of spaciousness.

An FX9 camera is located at the presenter’s table and provides the front row view. FX9 cameras are also located on each back panel. One is used to capture distant shots and another to move around.

The cameras switch angles throughout the game, which can be annoying but necessary when coaches accidentally block the view. For example, Udoka’s leg was in my face every time he went to Center Court.

The featured presenter is former NBA forward Richard Jefferson, but the comments are boring at times. And the trivia questions don’t help.

Meta uses former NBA players like Jefferson to interact with avatars that participate in the court experience. And for some contests, commentators could appear in the room as real avatars to chat with fans.

We’ll see how exciting that actually is when the time comes.

A screenshot of Jabari’s splash screen reminiscent of an NBA virtual reality event on the Oculus Quest 2 platform.

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Finally, the selection of games could be better. Celtics pacers was ok but tent games would be more attractive and could attract more people making it an even more social experience.

The next two NBA VR games on Oculus are coming up January 17th – Allowing Covid postponements – with the Oklahoma Thunder playing Mark Cubans Dallas Mavericks. the 22nd of January VR experience has played the Sacramento Kings against the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.

These aren’t necessarily must-see games.

What’s next

I missed the Celtics pacers renewal because my Oculus headset battery died. But given how many people were on the first level at the end of Q4 and more coming out of the venues lobby, it’s fair to say that the NBA VR experience was popular in the metaverse that night.

Three days after attending the game, I spoke to Rob Shaw, Meta’s director of sports leagues and media partnerships, to understand how far the court experience has progressed and where it is going.

Shaw was reminded of comments made to CNBC in 2020 when he said the NBA’s Oculus concept was “still in the early stages.”

Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset.

T3 Magazine | future | Getty Images

Shaw said the new Oculus Quest 2 and its adoption have made a big difference since then. He noted that the device is lighter, has better optics, and is cheaper than its $399 sister device, making it more popular as a gift.

“Now we’re in the fundamental moments of building and learning the experience,” Shaw said.

I asked if the NBA experience would remain free, and Shaw didn’t rule it out.

“I think the business model can be redefined,” he explained. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be pay-per-view, but an economy that can be built around the viewer experience.”

He added that if the VR experience can really evolve to mimic pitchside, “I see they want to put a price point on a ticket. But that’s a decision that has to be made by the league and the media company.”

Ultimately, it’s up to the NBA to charge consumers. The league did not provide an official for CNBC to discuss it.

While the NBA is silent on the matter, Meta is looking ahead.

Shaw envisions immersive VR displays and allows users to purchase avatar jerseys at a Metaverse NBA store. Then, for an additional fee, private live screening options. There are ideas centered around a sports bar seat experience and VIP options that include watching games with an NBA legend or celebrity.

“I think sponsorship can be redefined,” Shaw said. “Brand activation, historically limited to the venue, suddenly becomes more accessible and customizable for the Metaverse.”

— CNBC’s Steve Kovach contributed to this article.

Rooster large Sanderson Farms reportedly exploring a possible sale

Igor Golovniov | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

Sanderson Farms consider a sale as chicken prices rise due to increased demand, so a Report from the Wall Street Journal.

Sanderson Farms’ shares closed at $ 166.58 on Monday, up 6.96% from talks of a possible deal. In expanded trading, the stock rose more than 9% and increased its market cap to more than $ 3.72 billion. Every buyer would have to pay a premium on top of this price.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said Sanderson hired Centerview Partners for advice after piquing the interest of potential buyers, including agricultural investment firm Continental Grain. The Journal said the talks between the parties may not result in a sale.

Has a combination of strong demand and labor shortage have driven up poultry prices, and further increases could still be imminent. Chicken wing prices, for example, averaged $ 2.72 a pound last week U.S. Department of Agriculture, that’s almost 20 cents more than in the same week last year.

Sanderson is the third largest food processor in the US in an area covered by Tyson Foods.

According to the report, a deal with Continental would create a company that produces about 15% of the country’s chicken. The newly founded company would only barely cover that Pilgrim pride, which has a market share of 16%, the report said.

Continental owns Wayne Farms, a small chicken processor, and once hoped to go public and act as a consolidator in the industry.

When reached by CNBC, Sanderson declined to comment.

Read the full report in the Wall Street Journal.

Potential furloughs at Central Dauphin College District, how might stimulus cash assist?

DAUPHIN COUNTY, PA (WHTM) – Potential vacation days remain on the table in the Central Dauphin School District. We were told that the move could save about $ 2 million and currently the budget deficit is about $ 11 million.

School Board President Ford Thompson stressed that these vacation days are a last resort and weigh all options. A decision will be made in late May or early June.

The Central Dauphin School District is considering vacation days to balance the budget

The school board voted 6-3 last week to keep the vacation option open, which could affect 21 teachers, two administrators and two other county workers.

“There are things we have to pay for that we have little control over, and we also have a limited amount of revenue,” Thompson said.

But could federal incentive money help?

Stimulus Check Taxes: Will Stimulus Payments Affect Your Taxes?

“If we did that exclusively, we’d have the same problem or worse next year,” Thompson said.

School board member Eric Epstein disagrees.

“We don’t need a tax hike. We don’t have to be vacation teachers. We get twice as much stimulus money as we thought. We’re getting $ 18 million instead of $ 9 million. We can use the money and are specifically directed to use the money to avoid vacation. I think we should get this off the table and stop creating unnecessary anxiety among our employees, ”said Epstein.

The Harrisburg School District is conducting a community survey, focus groups for superintendent search

Epstein said he was working on an updated budget plan to be presented to the board soon that would not include vacation days and tax increases.

“Every time you fire a teacher, you are necessarily reducing class size and compromising the quality of education. I also think that would jeopardize the after-school services that we would offer, ”said Epstein.

Thompson admits that this could have an impact on class size, but doesn’t think it would have any impact on extracurricular activities.

If approved, these vacation days will apply for the entire fiscal year from July.

Some Abilene residents, enterprise homeowners excited for potential downtown leisure district | KTAB

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 / 5:03 PM CDT
Updated: April 6, 2021 / 5:10 p.m. CDT

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – Abilene could get an open container entertainment district in the city center That would allow adults to walk from restaurants to shops with an alcoholic drink in hand.

Some Abilene residents and business owners say they wholeheartedly support this.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Kayla Rollins, owner of the K. Ellis Boutique.

“It’s exciting to revitalize downtown and bring new life to it,” said Brenna Camp, a local resident.

Abilene City Council approves the task force to consider a proposal that would allow people to carry alcohol around downtown

“As long as residents are responsible for it and throw away their trash,” said Jonathan Dempsey, local resident.

“We’re excited to have the chance to see more people downtown,” said Jessica Adams, owner of Vagabond Pizza.

The idea of ​​a downtown entertainment district began after two businessmen reached out to Councilor Weldon Hurt.

“Anything a citizen brings up, good or bad, whatever we have to do, I generally bring it up to the city administrator,” Hurt said.

The proposal at the Abilene City Council meeting could allow alcohol to be carried while walking downtown

After talking to Robert Hanna, the manager of Abilene City, they decided to take the idea to the council.

“First and foremost, we don’t encourage people to get drunk,” said Hurt.

Instead, the aim is to make the city center more attractive and more accessible for residents and tourists.

“It really doesn’t cost the city anything, and I still think it will help tourism, and I always consider tourism to be free money,” said Hurt.

Rollins says an entertainment district would attract more shoppers.

“Like Fredericksburg, we go out and spend all day, my husband can come and we can shop, and he can sit there and follow us, but he has a beer and is happy about it,” Rollins said.

Instead of going to a shop or restaurant, people can make a day out of it.

Some reviewers have said it could create more trash, but Rollins and Adams say they would be willing to bring out more trash cans.

“We all know that if we screw it up, it affects more than just our business. That is why we are all very hardworking. We want to take care of this community, that’s why we are here, ”said Adams.

Hurt says keeping young professionals in Abilene has always been a goal, and an entertainment district could do just that.

“Give them more places to go, more things to see,” said Hurt.

Nothing has been decided yet, but the city council will appoint members to a task force which will then discuss options and possibilities with the city administrator, city attorney and other city guides.

Potential stimulus cash to assist Bay Space restaurant revival

Restaurants could soon see financial relief in the $ 1.9 trillion economy that was just going through the Senate. It includes $ 28.6 billion specifically for small restaurants and bars.

Video transcript

– – It wasn’t the busiest night at the Farmers Union in San Pedro Square, but compared to a month ago …

– – Where we are now, I think we’re fine.

– – Assistant general manager Jeffrey Worrell says most customers are still cautious about entering the house.

JEFFREY WORRELL: You will be. Once they become more comfortable and more people get vaccinated, business will flourish.

– – Although this group came specially to dine indoors.

– – It feels soothing.

– – I just wanted to come in. It’s colder outside.

– – Not everyone took the opportunity to bring people back into the house.

DAVID MULVEHILL: We’ll probably do that next week. So I just want to take the time to make sure people are comfortable first, and make sure employees are comfortable.

– – David Mulvehill runs O’Flaherty’s pub. He says they are also waiting to see what happens to the stimulus plan in Congress that would allow restaurants to re-access loans from the payment protection plan to help pay employees.

– – I haven’t seen all the details yet, but of course we’re happy. It seems like a step in the right direction for restaurants and bars.

– – PPP wouldn’t have been enough to help Umberto Bala, who said he had to sell his Cambell brewery last year, which couldn’t reopen due to COVID restrictions.

UMBERTO BALA: My heart. It hurt my bag too, but mostly my heart. You know losing your baby is hard

– – He still runs the Vin Santo restaurant in Willow Glen. I’m just glad it stayed afloat.

– – You know, as a restaurant owner, you will never get rich from owning a restaurant, but it’s a lifestyle.

– – While PPP money would be nice, he says – he’s joking, there’s one thing that it doesn’t pay off for.

– – The weather is getting better so we can no longer use the heating. Because propane is very expensive.

– – In San Jose, Matt Boone, ABC 7 News.

No financial system can succeed with out tapping ladies’s potential

Indra Nooyi speaks on stage during the 2020 Women’s Watermark Conference at the San Jose Convention Center on February 12, 2020 in San Jose, California.

Marla Aufmuth | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

When economies enter a new phase of growth, the next 20 years will be “the decades of women,” says the former PepsiCo chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi.

The Indian-American businesswoman said the coming years will mark a turning point for women as society tries to recover from the pandemic while addressing demographic challenges. She also called on companies and countries to stand behind the change.

“I don’t think there is an economy in the world that can thrive without realizing the incredible potential of women in the future. I just don’t think that is possible,” said Nooyi, an integral part of the world ranking of powerful women .

“I also think that almost every economy in the world needs women in order to have children because we need the replacement rate for the world,” she continued. “We should sit down and say, ‘You need us.’ They need us for the economy, they need us to have children, and we’ve put all the unpaid work in. So I look to the next few decades and say, ‘it’s our time’. “

They need us for the economy, they need us to have children … So I look to the next couple of decades and say, “It’s our time.”

Indra Nooyi

Ex-CEO, PepsiCo

Nooyi spoke of at a virtual event Procter & Gamble and United Nations women titled #WeSeeEqual.

Closing the gender gap

In a report last year The United Nations predicted that the coronavirus pandemic will affect women more than men, further exacerbating existing gender gaps.

However, Nooyi, who was widely lauded for her transformation of PepsiCo, including its diversity and inclusion agenda, said there is an opportunity for companies and countries to fill the void by focusing on three key areas.

“First, every business and government should insist on paid leave,” she said, highlighting paid maternity, paternity and family leave as critical.

“Second, thank God for Covid, now we have flexibility,” she continued, noting that flexible work can be a huge opportunity for women to participate. Not only does that mean moving the office home, it also means enabling hybrid work models and flextime so employees can “find a new equation” that works for them, she said.

“The third most important is childcare facilities,” she said.

These three elements need to work together to bring about change, Nooyi said. But she is hopeful: “I would say it will be a different world; there will be a lot more equality than we saw before.”