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Without spectators, a ‘sport’ is just a ‘game’. Playing to a crowd is a natural fit for E-sports, and it’s clear that CCP have paid close attention to satisfying the spectators in Project Arena as well as the players.

“…we’ve got a couple of people in the Brawl arena and four or five of us in the studio ‘courtside’ as giants looking down on these little guys playing, and we all cheer at the same time—we know we’ve got something!” said Kraver. “I envision a day where you’re at the office and the world championship of Project Arena is going on and you pull out your Gear VR and watch the match, and you can’t wait to get home so you can enter the tournament yourself. So by focusing on the player as well as the spectator, we’re making an all-around compelling E-sport experience. It was great seeing everyone at Fanfest in line staring at the matches playing out on the big screen in the demo room.”


But spectators aren’t just watching to see how the score comes to pass; an element of traditional sports is the drama and personalities behind the players. Thanks to the expressiveness of motion input, players have many opportunities to come into their own. This is perhaps showcased best during the ‘knuckle-up’ sequence before each match in Project Arena, where both players are positioned close to each other, much like a boxing weigh-in. You can trash-talk and gesture all you like, and thanks to the capacitive sensors on Touch, your fingers get involved too (although I was unable to ‘flip the bird’!).

HP and Virtuix Sponsor $100,000 VR Esports Tournament

“My favourite technique is to do an index-finger point at your opponent, then you stick your thumb up, and slide it across your neck and then with the other hand you knuckle-up to start the game. It really works, it’s very intimidating!” Kraver said.


In Kraver’s experience, people are primed for this sort of expression. It’s something that traditional games have stifled because simply lack the available input to accurately convey the player behind the avatar.

“People love to perform. I have a long background in motion capture; I remember in the late 90s, we had an electromagnetic system that could run in real-time, driving the game characters directly off the motion suit. The second you put anybody in that suit, they became some sort of diva, strutting around and posing!” said Kraver. “It’s exactly the same in my development space for Arena, where it’s like a hall of mirrors; you put anybody in there and they do all kinds of stuff, kissing their biceps, immediately performing—to themselves!”

With an increasing number of elements that mirror traditional sports—competition, drama, expression, and outcomes dependant on physical ability—VR games like Project Arena could well blur the line between E-sports and actual sports, and VR gamers may end up burning quite a few extra calories in the process.

Disclosure: CCP Games provided airfare and lodging for Road to VR to attend Fanfest 2016 where information for this article was collected.


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  • Graham J ⭐️

    Of course you need room scale tracking too; can’t wait to try this with the Vive!

  • Rick

    It amazes me how few people know that the Oculus has whole room tracking as well. Even with one sensor. It just doesn’t have the chaperon system.

    • Brad

      It also has a shorter cable, so you can’t move as far, and there’s no breakout box, so if you move too far too fast, you could break your Rift or your computer. Or both. Not ideal.

      • Rick

        14 foot cable is long enough for me? and people have had good luck extending it if you need longer. As I said it doesn’t have the Chaperon system, but that can easily be added with software when the touch launches.

        • NoZart

          or one just uses a floormat. some problems don’t even need high tech solutions ;)

          • Rick

            Haha very true! That’s what I’m going to do, I’ve just been to procrastinating

          • gemiinii

            Trust me, when you’re being surrounded by and shooting zombies, you will lose track of your floormat.

      • NoZart

        extension cables work. plus they actually introduce a “security” feature, when you rip on it, it just disconnects.

      • Starman3482

        I can see after owning both that the Oculus is really not set up for room scale, with the 5×11 foot limit and the obvious fact your not seeing too much talk or development on the Touch controllers I think it’s safe to bet that it’s going to be more of a standing and dodging type of experience and not walking around your room.

        After playing both systems for a week they really are two different beasts with totally different offerings.

        Playing the Oculus is amazing, playing the Vive is like tasting the future or actually being in Ready Player One.

        I also want to note that the Oculus has slim skinny padding that I don’t for the life of me understand how one could sweat in it, for you Oculus guys we work up quite a sweat in our Vives but it has much healthier face padding.

      • Roger Anthony Essig

        75 cm shorter than vive pre. It has a lighter cable than vives solution, so its preferable to walk around without the cable pulling on the hmd

    • PianoMan

      True. However, it’s not as accurate or as developed as the HTC Vive. Plus it’s not designed to be used that way. Touch will only make for a lesser experience in room scale compared to what Vive has now.

      • Rick

        You know this how? I’m not trying to be rude, I’m honestly curious. With my rift I can walk all around my room and be tracked, there’s only a slight drift in tracking (15 cm maybe) when you’re at about 13 ft, but that’s only with one camera sitting on my desk. With multiple I don’t see this being a problem

        • PianoMan

          I have both. Prefer the Vive. The OR is good for seated – driving games, Elite and watching movies. As experiences in terms of VR, I would say the Vive is more involving and you get a real sense of space and scale.

          • Rick

            I just don’t see your point if they both track accurately, I’m not hating on the vive, it’s awesome, but the OR capabilities can match the tracking, and the rest is up to software (which vive currently has over the rift because of the current focus). The remainder is your preference in controller and comfort for you. I liked the rifts touch controllers so that’s why I went with it.

          • PianoMan

            I’ve not tried the touch controllers. OR doesn’t have as good as tracking as the Vive, no where near as accurate. That may improve with more hardware. For me, right now, the Vive is more what I hoped VR would be. The OR, is great for seated and for me far more comfortable.

          • Rick

            Oh I agree with you, my point is that in its current state its focused on seated and it still tracks about 70% as well as the vive with only 1 camera, with the additional camera the touch brings I think that will easily bring the tracking up to par with the vive, or aleast close enough that only people with > 16×16 rooms will notice :-)

          • FRIdSUN

            Unfortunately the tracking precision doesn’t simply add up. It is unclear how the OR sensors work in principle, but the Vive sensors are smart engineering for room scale tracking and scaling up with numbers, and it would be impressive to beat that.

          • NoZart

            so the tracking on the Rift is worse than on a DK2? because within it’s designated space, tracking is spotless on the dk2 for me. I had some problems setting up the vive though, because of a glass table and some picture frames….

          • Rick

            No CV1 tracks much better than the dk2, I have one as well. I’m talking about your whole room and when you’re 10+ feet back . But no the cameras are much better, they’re fov for tracking feels like > 170 degrees

          • Starman3482

            If you look at the games confirmed for the Touch launch you will notice they are all games where you don’t move around the whole room, Job Simulator, Surgeon Sim, Final Approach even dead and buried you don’t move around too much, yeah you duck and weave but it’s no Hover Junkers.

            Not trying to be a jerk but if you read between the lines you can see their not going to be the same or you would notice titles like The Blu coming to Oculus but no nothing like that at all. Compare Hover Junkers to Dead and Buried and you will see what I mean.

            In one game your free to move around various sized hover crafts and in Dead your stuck where you are it’s like Hover Junkers but without the mobility.

            Serious take some time and see what’s actually coming out for the Touch and you will see no one is making or bringing room scale games to it.

          • Starman3482

            If you look at the launch titles for the Touch you can see their all experiences where you won’t move more than a few feet here or there. If people would pay attention to the obvious and the 5×11 foot restraint they would see they have no intentions of bringing room scale to the Oculus or you would see The Blu as a launch title. I just put my Oculus up on Ebay you just can’t play it after playing the amazing stuff on the Vive.

          • Rick

            I’m not talking about right now or the focus of the games, I’m talking about the capability of the hardware. For the majority of people the tracking is easily their whole room

          • Starman3482

            I just gave it a go, while I could get to the back of my room it’s not prefect maybe with another sensor it would track better but no it’s not covering the whole room without hiccups

          • Rick

            Oh, of coarse, I experience hiccups too because of occlusion(my body blocking the sensor when I turn around and crouch down) but imagine if the vive only had one camera, you would get the same effect, especially if you blocked the controllers with your body. All I’m saying is that there’s easily the potential when touch launches to walk and crawl around like you do in the vive. The tracking is already much greater than they advertised. There was just no point for oculus to include two sensors until touch came out because the launch was designed around just seated and standing, and didn’t have to track controllers that could be behind your body.

        • Eric Pipedream Leisy

          Interesting- I have both the Oculus and the Vive, and I would definitely say that Vive does Room Scale hands down much better than the oculus. I found the oculus isn’t able to track anywhere near what the Vive is capaable of- just due to the different setups. How do you get your oculus to track a whole room?

    • Starman3482

      It does not have whole room tracking.

      Vive – 15×15
      Oculus – 5×11

      Oculus also does not think room scale is going to be very popular.
      “We don’t believe that the consumer has the space in general,” Rubin said. “Has the commercial viable space of the 15-by-15 foot square.”

      I’m using about a 8×8 square in my room it’s amazing. Oculus got put up on Ebay because I was just having the time of my life with the Vive. I got my Oculus second and the whole time I’m playing it I’m just wishing I was playing a Vive game, that and I got up out of my seat more than once to explore the space and was jerked back to reality with the cord.

      The one sensor get’s really iffy once you get about 4 feet away. At first I was an Oculus guy but since having a Vive no way I will go back to anything smaller, and in the future I will defiantly have a space for 15×15 amazingness.

      Also want to mention I played all of the major Oculus games and none of them brought me back like HordeZ or Holopoint which are basically small tech demos but are far cooler than even the best Oculus offering.

    • Weston Mitchell

      yo my deepest condolences for getting an Oculus by accident.
      You still have time to order a vive. lmao

    • Roger Anthony Essig

      It does if you use steamvr, ive set up chaparone grid in my room using leap motion, full roomscale.

      • Rick

        That’s awesome, I had no idea you could do that!

    • Michal Gloc

      Perhaps, but until the tracked controllers come out, it’s not really the same thing.

  • DiGiCT Ltd

    Vive works more accurate as rift, its simply an other tracking system.
    OR could improve indeed with more camera’s but its all an hassle as each camera also needs to connect to a pc, USB on long distances cable will cause issues,
    If you look clear to those long wired wifi antenna’s they have actually the usb dongle inside the antenna box and not the dongle in the pc and not an extension cable to the antenna for the same reasons.
    Vive just solved it in a better way.
    OR was made for standing and seated with a small area for roomscale and thats simply what it is.
    They better release a newer version later on with room scale as it’s simply not designed for it as the Vive is.
    If you cant accept it, then we also could add the upcoming daydream devices to the list.

    A car is a car but also a car differs in their own pros and cons, same for VR devices, dont blind your eyes and tune a device to something it was not meant to be, but accept it for what it is, it is the only way you can feel satisfied about your purpose.

    Roomscale has only one issue no matter what device it is, and that’s simply that most people dont have enough room to full potential play roomscale games.
    Standing games are just fine with a play area of 2x2m as most people can afford that kinda space.
    In that way OR can also work just fine.

    • Ombra Alberto

      Boredom. Boredom. Boredom. Boredom. Boredom. Boredom.

    • Sam Illingworth

      “Roomscale has only one issue no matter what device it is, and that’s
      simply that most people dont have enough room to full potential play
      roomscale games.”

      That’s not quite true – it has a second problem: cables.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        You can get used to it at least on a desend level of acceptance, but hitting walls because not enough room hurts.

        • Yakinabe

          HTC Vive’s chaperone feature works perfectly. I have yet to walk into a wall or furniture. On the other hand, I constantly step on the cable, it gets twisted up after a while, and I’ve even pulled it out of the socket a couple of times.

          • DiGiCT Ltd

            Yes, the wire is for sure an issue, i have it in hover junkers lol

  • momobit