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GoPro Is Getting Into Virtual Reality

A GoPro camera is held during the GoPro IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York

A GoPro camera is held during the GoPro IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York // Seth Wenig/AP

GoPro announced today that it has agreed to buy Kolor, a French software startup that specializes in creating 360° interactive videos. Soon, videos of snowboarding tricksaerial drone footage, and perhaps even team sports, could become immersive, explorable worlds.

Kolor’s software lets users stitch together photos or videos to create panoramic scenes. GoPro will be folding Kolor into its business in May, and said the technology will form the backbone of a new emphasis on “spherical content.” The action-camera company also has a professional mount that puts multiple GoPros into a cube, which can be used to shoot 360° video. Kolor’s software will process the footage to create immersive, virtual reality videos.

GoPro has created a 4K video showing off what its mount can do with Kolor’s software. Watch the video below in a Chrome web browser to move around in the footage GoPro has shot.

A GoPro spokesperson tells Quartz that the spherical videos initially will work with Google’s Cardboard system (which is just a smartphone mounted in cardboard to give the impression of a virtual reality headset) and that compatibility will soon expand to other virtual-reality systems, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

The commercial virtual-reality industry is still in its infancy. Oculus Rift probably won’t be released until 2016, and Microsoft’s HoloLens has yet to be given a release date. While it’s unclear which format is going to win out, GoPro is positioning itself as both a provider of hardware and content that can support any eventual winner, if there is one.

Correction 6:52pm ET: An earlier version of this post said that GoPro’s spherical mount was new. It is in fact already available for sale through the company’s professional solutions site.

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