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Magic Leap Partners With Turner, NBA on Mixed Reality Basketball Content

Magic Leap is partnering with Turner and the NBA to produce mixed reality content for Magic Leap’s upcoming headset, the  companies revealed at Recode’s Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. Tuesday.

“We are honored to be one of their initial partners,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who had joined Abovitz on stage.

As part of the partnership, the NBA will launch what amounts to an app on Magic Leap’s platform this year, and deliver game highlights and other content to Magic Leap users. “You can be on the court, you can be over the court,” said Silver. The experience will also include data overlays, and the ability to watch game scenes on a kind of virtual TV.

Magic Leap announced in December that it was going to ship a creator-focused version of its headset in 2018. The company has yet to announce pricing for the product, but Bloomberg reported at the time that the Magic Leap One Creator Edition may cost anywhere from $1500 to $2000.

On Tuesday, Abovitz said that the company would announce both pricing and launch date for the hardware this spring. He also hinted at future premium versions that would cost even more, as well as an eventual consumer mass market device that would cost at least as much as what he called a “higher-end mobile phone.”

Abovitz also contrasted Magic Leap’s efforts from existing virtual reality hardware by saying that it wouldn’t shut out the world. “We are not isolating at all,” he said. At the same time, he insisted that Magic leap wasn’t simply doing another augmented reality headset. “The pop culture word AR doesn’t really apply to what we are doing.”

A few other details mentioned by Abovitz on stage were that the creator edition is being made in multiple sizes, with basketball star Shaq O’Neal wearing what Abovitz called the large version in a promotional video shown on stage.

Abovitz also mentioned that the headset will not only sense the environment of its users, but also include a number of biometric sensors. “Human experience is not just data. It’s emotion, it’s feeling a presence,” he said.

Silver said that one of the goals of the NBA’s partnership with Magic Leap was to explore how to reach viewers in the future. “It is something we feel we have to do,” he said.

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