Esports and VR: How Virtual Reality Changes the Industry

While esports may be a relatively new phenomenon, it began in 1972 when Stanford University hosted the first video game competition. People have been finding ways to challenge one another and compete for prizes since video games became more common and popular. (Alternatively, for bragging rights.)

Since these first tentative steps, the esports industry has grown at a dizzying rate. It is common knowledge that some of the most popular video games, such as League of Legends, Dota, Overwatch, Counter-Strike, and others, hold championships regularly worldwide. Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, first-person shooters (FPS), card games, real-time strategies, and other video game genres lend themselves well to these types of tournaments.

ARE ESPORTS CLASSIFIED AS SPORTS?

Isn’t this the point of contention? Most definitions define sports as an athletic activity involving varying levels of body movement. There is, however, more than one definition of sports. Take a look at how the International Olympic Committee, arguably the world’s most authoritative sports institution, classifies chess as a sport.

Yes, when playing chess, you don’t move around much. But it’s still a difficult game against an opponent (or several) that requires a great deal of skill to win. To some extent, competitive video games can be considered sports.

Whether or not esports is a sport, the fact remains that it is one of the world’s largest industries. Esports has a total audience of around 454 million viewers, and the total revenue of this type of competitive gaming is currently around $1 billion globally.

To summarize, esports significantly impact a large portion of the world, and it is an industry that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, it will only continue to expand.

ESPORTS AND VR

The introduction of VR changed the game for both regular games and gaming competitions. We now have esports events that include both standard video games and VR games. And they bring a whole new set of skills that a player needs to excel.

VR has an impact on esports because it is not a static activity. When playing VR games, players must move, react, run or walk, take things, point their guns, shoot, and perform a variety of physically demanding actions that standard video games do not necessitate. These games also require teamwork, strategizing, and quick thinking, but the main difference is the level of physicality.

While the International Olympic Committee recognized esports as having the potential to be incorporated into the sports movement, it also stated that it wishes esports players would adopt a more active lifestyle and perhaps find a balance between gaming and physical fitness.

Balance, it appears, has arrived in the form of VR esports.

LEAGUES IN VR

In keeping with history, VR esports tournaments first appeared in 2016. The most competitive games were Echo Arena by Ready At Dawn and Onward by Downpour Interactive. Beat Saber is also a good option for competitive gaming.

Several VR leagues are solely dedicated to VR gaming. These are the most popular VR leagues at the time of writing this post, in no particular order:

  • VR League was established in 2017
  • VR Master League was established in 2017
  • Collegiate VR Esports League was established in 2018
  • The Virtual Athletics League was established in 2016

If you want to join any of these leagues, go to their official Discord servers or websites and look around.

VR esports, like general esports, will only grow in popularity in the coming years as more VR games become available. Developers are already focusing more on competitive gameplay that will appeal to both players and audiences. 

We can expect to see a lot more of these VR gaming leagues spring up around the world, and hopefully, it won’t be long before major VR tournaments begin to take place in major cities around the world. We truly cannot wait.For more examples of Virtual Reality gaming click on the link.

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