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The Future of Play, Today.

Why User-Generated Replays Matter | PodPlay

Ben Borton, Mar 25, 2024

Living to Share

Picture yourself on the floor at Madison Square Garden watching your favorite band (I saw The National there recently so I’m going to picture that). The band breaks into one of their best-known numbers. The song rises to a crescendo, with the crowd singing along. As you gaze up at the stage during this communal moment, what do you see?


The visual experience is like an infinity mirror with many versions of the moment on the stage reflected back at you on tiny smartphone screens. For many, capturing the moment takes precedence over living in the moment.

We see an analogous version of this modern dilemma in racquet sports clubs today. Points are staged for the camera. Efforts to record tennis or pickleball match play creates unnecessary friction that shortens time spent playing and disrupts the flow of the game. Selfies can be more important to players than the game itself.

Social media is so pervasive, such an important medium for establishing and maintaining an identity in the modern world, that the ever-so-human act of sharing our experiences has taken priority over being present in the experience. In the modern world, the social media post, for many, has become more important than the lived moment itself.  

Technology may have taken us out of the moment, but it can also offer a way back in. We now have tools that allow us to stay immersed in the experience of play AND also share those moments with our social networks. In a world awash with content manufactured to share, technology that enables people to capture authentic moments without disrupting lived experience is becoming more and more valuable.

Shared Life

PodPlay’s game-changing replay functionality is designed to allow players to capture great moments without taking them out of the flow of their game. No more setting up a tripod and mounting an iPhone. No more staging a point for the camera. No more logging into a separate system if players want to access video capabilities. With PodPlay, all you have to do is jump on the court and play the game. And when the magic moment happens - as it so often does in pickleball and table tennis - players need only press the replay button on the kiosk, and PodPlay captures the moment, stores it in the app, and e-mails players their clips when their game is through.

Video: Adam Bobrow. For more great content from Adam check out youtube @AdamBobrow.

How often do customers utilize the user-generated replay functionality? A lot. At PingPod, customers are on pace to press the button more than 100,000 times in 2024.

But what if you played an amazing game, and want to capture the whole thing? Players can order longer custom replays within 48 hours of their reservation. The same is true for players focused on continuous improvement: we’ve seen many players use this custom replay functionality to share their sessions or matches with their coach to get asynchronous feedback, and help improve their technique. 

Designing for Authenticity

PodPlay didn’t invent video replay, but the technology and processes we have built stem from three key principles uniquely calibrated to allow players to capture and share authentic moments, while keeping the focus squarely on the game. We strongly believe that to retain authenticity, video replay must be:

  • User-Generated: The PodPlay user-initiated video replay system puts the power to decide what is replay-worthy in the hands of the player. We believe players (not AI), are the best judge of their own experiences.
  • Non-Disruptive: Initiating a replay is as easy as pressing a button. The focus is on the game and keeping players in their flow.
  • Integrated: User-generated replays are fully integrated with the club reservation management system. No need for multiple logins or to visit one website to book and another to see your videos. The PodPlay system adds powerful video replay functionality without adding new friction. 

The unique design of the PodPlay technology and process for capturing user-initiated replays is patent pending. For patent curious readers, the patent application can be found here: PCT

Technology is amazing, but the world is catching up to the fact that it's taken us further and further away from living in the moment, from being present in our lives. Many of us have a very real screen time problem. In sports, part of the joy is being truly engaged, focused, and in the moment. With PodPlay’s technology, we're flipping the narrative, so that you get all the benefits of being able to share, while never being taken out of living your life in the moment. And next time I go to a concert, I've made a pact with myself that I'm going to try not to take out my phone, and maybe sometime soon our technology will expand so that I can have a replay of the concert and also be fully in the moment, not staring at the tiny screen of my phone.

The PodPlay Advantage

User-generated replays are one of several sought-after features of the PodPlay SaaS offering. PodPlay gives venue operators all the tools they need to digitally manage a physical space: integrating video replays, digital scoreboards, and autonomous functionality with court reservation management, event management, coach connect, membership module, and payments. 

Originally built to power PingPod , the network of futuristic autonomous ping pong clubs, PodPlay is now being used to manage venues across pickleball, padel, ping pong, and pool, with more experience verticals to come.

If you’re interested in learning more about PodPlay's digital scoreboards, head over to our website and request a demo.