Every week VRFocus brings you a number of sports and eSports related virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) stories as part of This Week In VR Sport. This week, HTC Vive and McLaren launch their Motorsports eSports series at ChinaJoy 2018, Australia is seeing a raise in the number of VR eSports fan and Cherry Pop Games release a new update and demo for their popular title Football Nation VR.
HTC Vive and McLaren Launch Their eSports Series In China
Back in July it was announced that HTC Vive would be partnering with McLaren to put on an eSports series. Now, the first VR Motorsports eSports Competition hosted by the two companies has taken place in China alongside a new Vive Focus system update as part of ChinaJoy 2018.
Known as the McLaren Shadow Project, the competition sees participants complete in a racing videogame that shadows the real F1 team, using the Vive Pro headset, in time trial-based races. The player who is able to earn the faster time will win a place in the finals which are set to take place in January, 2019. The overall winner of the program will win a seat in McLaren’s new eSports team , an opportunity to join the McLaren eSports development programme and a unique motorsport experience.
“Already, the dramatic impact of XR on the gaming industry is transformational, which is clearly demonstrated by the new class of immersive content we are showing at ChinaJoy!” Explained Alvin Wang Graylin, China President, HTC, talking to europeangaming: “As a category, eSports is being redefined by immersive technologies, and this cooperation between HTC Vive and McLaren to hold the world’s first official VR motorsport eSport event this week is bringing the worlds of virtual and physical sports closer together than ever.”
Graylin took to Twitter to share a number of images from the competition which can be seen below. As the competition continues ahead of the finals in a few months, VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest.
— Alvin Wang Graylin (@AGraylin) August 3, 2018
Australians Are Embracing VR eSports
Australia is seeing an increasing number of people join in the eSports scene as the sport becomes more popular across the country. According to IoTHub, this movement is being helped by Next Tier Esports who have helped run events at two of the biggest gaming conventions in the Northern Territory: Geekfest and Gecon. Not only does this mean a number of PC and console gaming areas are installed at the events but also VR setups.
Geekfest – operated by the City of Palmerston Council – expected 100 attendees in 2017, but ended up with over 700. The team at Next Teir Esports were on hand to help provide attendees with a means to play and become introduced to the concept of eSports including some VR titles. In 2018, Geekfest attracted over 1,500 attendees and the numbers are only set to raise.
Though other companies are helping to bring eSports into the lime light, including Flaktest Gaming and Throwdown Esports, it is Next Tier Esports who are looking to bring VR into the mix. With an ever growing eSports presences, VR is making waves that will not only see it offering exciting opportunities for players to engage in competitive play, but also as a great entertainment resource for consumers.
Football Nation VR Releases Free Demo On PlayStation VR
Lastly this week, and in case you missed it, the fun and excitement of the 2018 World Cup can continue forever as Cherry Pop Games announced that their Football Nation VR videogame got a new update alongside the release of a demo. This means that PlayStation VR owners can download the demo and get stuck into the football action before picking up the full title.
The update that was released alongside it includes a bunch of new features such as a new striker mode, allowing players to try out penalty shoot outs in head-to-head online or offline fun. New custom teams, selectable AI difficulty, updates controls, new face to ball/goal button directing player goal orientation and an updated replay system.
“Our latest content update will fill the undeniable void left by the World Cup, one of our main focuses has been to improve the players experience, it was clear to us that the player wanted more memorable footballing moments – giving players the chance to be the star player and in doing this giving you more time on the ball,” commented Gemma Jessop, Cherry Pop Games, in a statement. “This is just one one in a list of game optimisations provided in this update, including; further control improvements, varying AI difficulty levels and the launch of a free demo on PlayStation VR so you can now jump in online and play for your country for free. It’s a great introduction to the new game mechanics.”
The free demo – which includes the striker mode – is available to download now on PlayStation VR with the update coming to both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive later this month.