Getting Physical with VRstudios Sports
Immersive Esports Creator Plans for Industry Shakeup
VRstudios, a leading provider of turnkey, commercial-grade VR systems and attractions for location-based entertainment venues, is heading up a new kind of virtual reality esports experience. Simply called VRstudios Sports, it’s built on their AMP (attraction management platform) framework and designed to turn competitive, real-world, physically active sports into immersive VR attractions.
The first title in the series, Hoops Madness, was officially launched at Amusement Expo 2020 in New Orleans – unfortunately, right as the U.S. went into shutdown mode. The game is available for up to 8 players on VRstudios’ ATOM (10×10 ft.) and FLEX (25×25 ft. to 40×40 ft.) systems, allowing for operator versatility.
Players compete in a matchup to see who will take MVP honors in the intense, fast-paced game. While realistic in an athletic sense, Hoops Madness is still in virtual reality, so players are also able to enjoy arcade game modes that can’t be duplicated in real life – or at home.
“We really focused a lot on the realistic ball-handling physics,” said Chanel Summers, VP of creative development. “There really weren’t any VR sports games for LBE, but we’ve seen the at-home markets and a lot of them were frustrating because of their lack of –– or poor –– physics,” she claimed.
Hoops Madness also exemplifies the “easy to learn, hard to master” concept so many providers are going for these days, she said. “VRstudios Sports is purpose-built for LBE. The games are replayable experiences with strong game design.”
Yoni Koenig, VP of sales and marketing, said the game is installed in a number of facilities and people are loving it. Summers added, “You’ll see it live in more locations, but many haven’t reopened or turned on their VR yet. I know it’s going to become extremely prevalent.”
Active, skill-based and social VR esports experiences like Hoops Madness are at the core of VRstudios, which has been working on that type of hardware and content for more than six years now as one of the first players in the game, so to speak.
“We’ve been heavily invested in creating these kinds of active, skill-based games and products,” Summers said. “Now, we’ve brought actual, physical sports into virtual reality that can only be done in FECs.”
The company just announced a partnership with Fun Spot Trampolines that begins this month, when they’ll be providing the first of their new VR attractions. It’s the latest in a slew of industry relationships and custom content.
“We’re the company that all the big guys come to,” Summers boasted, noting partnerships with Dave & Buster’s, Universal Orlando, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Cineplex, Knott’s Berry Farm and Cartoon Network, among others. “Fun Spot just continues the list of really tremendous partnerships that we’ve been able to engage in.”
Koenig noted that Hoops Madness and other planned games for VRstudios Sports “really close the gap between sports and VR esports, adding, “We have a strong point of view that VR esports can shape FECs.”