February 24, 2015 Last Updated 8:00 am

Detroit Red Wings mobile iOS and Android app gets an update adding virtual reality features

Powered by HP Aurasma, the user opens up the Wingscape tab which turns on the camera, allowing the user to view videos, animations and greetings from the team’s players

Yes, I admit it. I remember when there were only six hockey teams in the NHL, and when Gordie Howe was still a hockey hero, and Bobby Hull the upstart. Growing up in Detroit, I annually made pilgrimages to Olympia Stadium for New Year’s Eve hockey games. We always had the same seats, right behind one of the giant beams.

DRW-iPhone-lgToday, even hockey teams have mobile apps, though they are most often developed by third party firms, yet another example of where traditional media companies have missed out. But maybe it is for the best. These firms, such as YinzCam, the maker of Detroit Red Wings Mobile (as well as another app just for the iPad) are more likely to experiment with new features.

YinzCam’s latest update for the Red Wings iOS and Android apps adds virtual reality features that, sadly, can not be seen simply by downloading the app, though eventually one will be able to use it with the Red Wings website.

Powered by HP Aurasma, the user opens up the Wingscape tab on the app and the camera is turned on. One simply points the camera at an image of the Wingscape logo while at Joe Louis Arena, the home of the Wings, and up will pop videos, animations and greetings from the team’s players. In addition to the Wings logo, the device will also work with the cover of the Red Wings Today game program, the front of a Red Wings season ticket holder game ticket, or the cover of the Red Wings 2015 Wall Calendar (lots of merchandizing opportunities!).

“We have worked to create a Red Wings App that delivers the content and experiences our fans want via their mobile devices,” said Laura Murray, Director of Digital Marketing and Analytics for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings. “Red Wings fans want to connect with the players in a different way, and by introducing augmented reality, we hope to give them that experience.”

I think it is good to remember that even media outlets are a form of entertainment, and even though adding gimmicks to a mobile app won’t guarantee success for a publications, there is no reason one shouldn’t consider adding some fun elements. This is especially true of the ancillary apps a media company might create.

In 2012, one started to see newspapers beginning to launch their own mobile apps for sports teams, as well as special sections of the paper. For the most part, newspapers gave up on their efforts far too soon. Digital magazines, such as those created by the Chicago Tribune, were abandoned after only a few months. Brands, such as the Red Wings, are more likely to stick with an app longer, experimenting more. This app for the Red Wings, for instance, was launched in April of 2012 and has been eight times since.

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