Why we are so excited about Move.ai
“Metaverse” has been the buzzword of the last twelve months or so in the sports and media industry, with teams seeking new revenue streams and fan activations (NFT-based or otherwise) and investors looking to unearth the next great platform, or underlying technology.
At Sports Loft we like underlying technologies - the picks and shovels that facilitate a growing market. While early stage games developers or marketplaces might duke it out with each other (and against industry giants) for the public’s attention - technology underpinning emerging consumer behaviours can be a winner irrespective of which games make it big. Our latest member, Move.AI, is one such “picks and shovels” company, who have developed a groundbreaking motion capture technology that does not require expensive studios or uncomfortable motion capture suits, and are providing it to games developers, sports properties and broadcasters alike. According to co-founder Anthony Ganjou, “our algorithms look at a video and understand exactly how that individual is moving in 3D and 4D space. We capture the raw data, which we can then put into any game engine environment and perfectly replicate every element of that motion”. We believe that they have the potential to build a very significant business.
Move.ai have been on our radar for a few years - I’ve personally known Ant from previous businesses that he successfully exited and was introduced by Ant to their CEO Tino, who at the time was coming off his PhD at Imperial College London in Computer Vision and 3D Simulation. We saw them explore different applications for the technology they were building, with motion capture at the intersection between real-world and gaming applications becoming an incredibly compelling use case.
Motion capture at the level of precision that Move.AI provides has long been reserved only for high budget movie studios, or more recently, AAA games. It’s an expensive technology to use - with many super high end cameras set up around actors wearing mocap suits in a studio. This means it’s a technology that has been inaccessible to the vast majority of creative studios, content owners and games developers - until now. Look at the video below, with a dancer’s motion captured using a handful of GoPro cameras in a church hall, and translated into a digital environment. People often over-use the term “democratising technology” but in this case it’s true. A technology that would have cost millions of dollars to deploy is now available for a few thousand dollars - and that affordability makes it available to many more talented and creative people than was previously possible.
As a result, Ant, Tino and the team have developed something that takes motion capture out of the movie studio and into our homes, stadiums and beyond. With a sports hat on - Move can be used to capture athlete movement in a training environment or in a full sized stadium, creating opportunities for sports broadcasts in the metaverse, new visualisations for traditional broadcasters, and even officiating and sports performance applications. The video below, shows how sporting action can be captured and the new and different viewing angles that become possible. According to Ant, “because we understand positioning, because we understand head orientation, we can literally start to put fans in the perspective and in the viewpoint of the player”.
One of the (many) complexities here is obviously space - it’s one thing capturing motion in an enclosed environment, but another thing doing it in a much bigger area. “We’ve established the viability of being able to do this in large volume across the entirety of an 11-a-side football pitch or a tennis court or a golf hole” says Ant.
However, there’s no reason to restrict this to sport - with live concerts already a fixture in Fortnite, Move.ai has the potential to bring similar events to fruition, and to bring motion capture to a wider range of aforementioned film and TV.
Spanning all of the above is that Move.ai is bringing a previously highly expensive technology to a wider audience and that won’t necessarily be purely in a B2B setting - there’s a real opportunity to see the TikTok generation capturing dance moves on iPhones that can then be translated into the virtual word as emotes or celebrations across different games (as shown in the video below). This provides a huge commercial opportunity for Move.ai and its partners. For Ant, “we see a scenario within months where in the World Cup final a player will score a fantastic goal, run to the corner flag for a celebration, and that celebration will then be available as an emote to buy in FIFA or in Fortnite”. As with lots of metaverse opportunities, interoperability will be key and Move.ai has the potential to be the standard for motion data in those environments.
Our excitement about the massive range of applications for Move.ai was justified from the reaction their presentation received at our Sports Loft Showcase event last month - whether it be from sports teams, brands or media properties. If you haven’t already, watch the presentation that Ant gave and you’ll see why so many jaws hit the floor!
There will be more exciting announcements from the Move.ai team in the coming weeks but for now, a warm welcome to Tino, Ant, Niall and the team as our tenth Sports Loft member!
Our algorithms look at a video and understand exactly how that individual is moving in 3D and 4D space. We capture the raw data, which we can then put into any game engine environment and perfectly replicate every element of that motion