ESPN Releases AR Mini Games to Enhance Its Digital Hockey Show

Fans can try two AR experiences while watching the broadcast

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To enhance its digital show, The Drop, ESPN Edge and Verizon partnered with the National Hockey League to launch two augmented reality mini-games for hockey fans to play on their iOS and Android devices.

Available on ESPN+, as well as ESPN’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages, The Drop features hosts Arda Öcal and Greg Wyshynski, who discuss upcoming NHL matches.

“Along with our partners, the ESPN Edge Innovation Center has been experimenting with how augmented reality can enhance the way fans experience sports content,” said Kevin Lopes, vp of Business Development & Innovation at ESPN. “The Drop AR Mini Games give fans a fun and exciting experience that also complements what we’re doing from a production standpoint with The Drop. The collective work done here by ESPN Edge, Verizon, and the NHL only enhances my bullish stance on AR and the ways we can engage fans in the future.”

The Drop AR Mini Games experience is accessible by scanning a QR code or visiting this site. When hockey fans launch the experience, they’ll be able to place a digital version of Öcal into the environment in front of them on their screen and then play two games, Puck Pong and Puck Pursuit, with Öcal as their guide and commentator. The experience supports the ability to watch The Drop and play the games at the same time.

Puck Pong challenges players to swipe on hockey pucks to fling them into buckets at the far end of a digital hockey rink, while Puck Pursuit asks them to swipe right, left and upward on their screen to help a hockey stick to avoid obstacles and collect pucks as it automatically moves forward through a snowy environment.

While Puck Pursuit is a single-player game, fans have the option to play Puck Pong with friends by sending them a game invitation. Both games also let players enter their initials onto the virtual leaderboard to see how they compare to other people.

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