Friday, February 23, 2018

The Bi-weekly Gamer: How VR could turn esports on its head

July 12, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

Escaping to another dimension or reality: it’s a dream that’s been around for a long time, as proved by the incredible number of movies and books inspired by the concept of virtual reality (VR).

Of course, industry tech leaders have been trying to create VR for a very long time now, and in recent years they have finally created systems that—at least partially—succeed in bringing people to that virtual place.

Virtual reality is new but powerful. And, while the concept was a novelty when it first came out, the power and the sheer size of the games available for headsets like the HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift have grown drastically in recent years and will continue to grow for a long time.

The Bi-weekly Gamer is a column about competitive gaming that appears in every issue of Nexus.

Once VR is more mainstream, the esports industry can expect that it will be coming to push its way into the forefront of leading games and systems. Sports game franchises like FIFA, Madden, NHL, and NBA could all see huge spikes in popularity, and these are not traditionally popular esports.

Of course, we don’t know what will happen with technology changing so fast. Obviously, VR needs a lot of work before it gets anywhere near that level of performance, and the system will also need the player base to back it up.

However, if VR breaks through into esports, we could see stereotypes about lack of exercise go out the window due to players needing to keep up with cardio in order to maintain the stamina needed to win the competitions. In addition, traditional investors could make entrances into the industry, further pushing the wealth of the industry higher and benefiting players, teams, production values, and even venues.

It’s not quite here just yet, but VR is coming, and with it the future looks bright not only for esports, but for the rest of us: the players and spectators who just enjoy playing or watching a good game.

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