The Potential Impact of Virtual Reality On Esports
Every once in a while, a new innovation gets released and threatens to change the world as we know it. Right now it may not look like it, but VR is one of such innovations.
The past decade was a huge one for VR. Virtual reality devices have been around for ages, in fact, the very first one was released as far back as 1957, however, despite having already existed for many years, VR has never existed at the level at which it exists right now.
The very first VR device was incredibly bulky – it was just slightly bigger than a vending machine…
…but through technological tweaks, VR devices are now smaller than ever, so much so, that they’ve turned into portable accessories for gaming.
Back in October 2016, Sony released their PS VR device. It marked a new era for gaming as we know it, but in a subtle manner, it may have also marked a new era for the broader Esport scene.
Esports has undergone tremendous growth over the past few years. The advent of streaming platforms like Twitch has taken Esport fanfare to a completely different level, but virtual reality may be set to trigger an entirely new wave of fanfare within Esports, but not in the manner that one would typically imagine.
How VR could transform Esports
You see, the biggest Esport titles in the world, Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite and CS:Go revolve heavily around mechanical skill, thus, VR in its current form cannot be implemented in these Esport titles because it will prevent pro players from maximizing their skills.
VR right now, fosters inconsistent movement patters which hampers the accuracy of certain in-game inputs, as you can imagine, these inconsistencies are not ideal for competitive games like DOTA 2, LOL, Fortnite and CS:Go, all of which revolve around precise movements and rapid-fire reactions.
However, not every game requires mechanical skill to such a wide degree, so while VR may not be implemented in any of the big four Esport titles anytime soon, there’s a solid chance that VR will be implemented across a wide slew of competitive games that don’t necessarily require rapid-fire precision.
And this will create a situation whereby VR Esport titles become their very own niche or genre, within the broader competitive gaming scene.
We’re already seeing something similar take shape, although to a lesser degree. There are various Esport communities that are solely centered around VR games.
None of these communities are mainstream yet, however, they could soon be, by 2022, here’s why;
Sony has announced plans to release a new version of the PSVR to work alongside the PS5. Sony has already told fans not to expect the new PSVR in 2021, so we could be looking at a 2022 release date.
When the headset gets released, we expect it to trigger a new wave of fanfare within the VR Esport community, especially if major content creators get involved.
And this wave could eventually snowball into a situation where VR Esports becomes a mainstream genre within the competitive gaming scene.
We’re unlikely to get a scenario where VR will completely replace the traditional Esport model, however, there’s a very real chance that it will exist alongside traditional Esports.