The National Football League is coming out with its first VR game title, promising to embed fans in gridiron action like never before.
The league has long been a player in video games, most notably with EA’s 34-year-old Madden NFL franchise. Now the NFL is teaming with StatusPro, a sports tech and gaming startup that specializes in extended reality experiences using athlete data, on an NFL-licensed virtual-reality simulation video game.
The game is slated to be available on Meta Quest and Sony’s PlayStation VR headsets, but otherwise there are scant details. The league and StatusPro say the game will let users “play like a professional football player through a first-person 3D immersive experience.” Additional info including release dates and pricing will be announced at a later date.
“Virtual reality gaming is rapidly expanding, and our partnership with StatusPro allows us to explore a new immersive version of NFL gaming with support of the two largest VR platforms within this emerging space,” Joe Ruggiero, the NFL’s SVP of consumer products, said in a statement. “We are seeing a growing number of fans engaging with VR and we’re excited to launch the first-ever VR gaming title that complements our existing offerings in the market today.”
StatusPro co-founders Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins and Troy Jones are both former football players: Hawkins was a wide receiver who played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, and Jones played QB in college.
“By partnering with the NFL, we will offer a new form of engagement between athletes and fans unlike anything in the marketplace” said Jones, who is CEO of StatusPro. Hawkins added, “We keep the athlete first in everything we do, and as former football players it means even more to be able to recreate what it actually feels like to step out on the field. Through our proprietary technology at StatusPro, we can deliver an immersive experience that helps NFL fans transform into pro athletes.”
Miami-based StatusPro investors include Naomi Osaka, LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Paul Wachter, Drake and Jimmy Iovine, along with investment firms Greycroft, TitleTown Tech, Verizon Ventures, Haslam Sports Group, 49ers Enterprises and SC Holdings.
StatusPro’s original product is Pre-Game Prep, a tool that uses real-time player data to help players simulate any game scenario, which is now being used by several NFL teams.