The virtual World Cup reflects WBSC's forward-looking digital strategy to connect baseball with new audiences beyond traditional games, WBSC Executive Director Michael Schmidt said in a statement published on the confederation's website on January 13. The format, rules and dates of the inaugural global virtual baseball tournament are under development.
"The launch of the WBSC’s new virtual World Cup platform alongside an innovation leader like Newdin will ensure the successful execution of the WBSC’s forward-looking digital strategy that aims to further globalize our sport and connect it with new audiences beyond our traditional game -- helping to secure our sport’s future as the world becomes more digital," said Schmidt.
The transition to virtual sports has been accelerated due to a prolonged coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hosted the first virtual Olympic event to engage virtual sports game fans as a preliminary event for the Tokyo Olympics. IOC partnered with game publishers to provide virtual sports events including baseball, cycling and yachting.
"The WBSC is proud to partner with Newdin and their leading ‘Strikezon’ baseball screen technology," Schmidt said.
Using Strikezon's vision sensors equipped with two high-speed cameras, the platform can accurately measure the movement of a baseball ball. An automatic pitching slider controls the ball speed and direction depending on the player's skills. Various sound effects will be provided to maximize the realism, and users can select their teams through a touch kiosk. The platform provides a training mode for batters and pitchers.
"We look forward to the development of a new form of sports culture through the WBSC's new virtual World Cup platform," Newdin CEO Hong Jin-pyo was quoted as saying. The company develops many different entertainment products that combine VR and simulation experience technology with sports such as screen baseball and screen golf.
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