Despite the news that CCP Games is shelving VR for the time being, the company promises that their last title Sparc will not only go on, but CCP is carrying through with plans to launch the game on both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Update (11/17/17): ‘Sparc’ is now available on Steam for Vive and Rift, and Oculus Home for Rift. Both stores are selling for $20, and promise cross-play support. Besides support for more headsets, no additional content has been added. Considering CCP has closed its Atlanta studio, it’s likely ‘Sparc’ will receive minimal support moving forward.

Original article (11/02/17): Launched initially back at the end of August for PSVR, Sparc is a 1v1 VR sport from CCP Games, the company behind EVE: Valkyrie and others. The company today announced that the game will launch on November 16th for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift (via Steam and the Oculus store), priced at $20. Cross-play will be supported across all three platforms, allowing Rift, Vive, and PSVR players to compete head to head.

CCP designed Sparc as a VR sport where players face off in 1v1 arenas, attempting to strike their opponent (or score a goal) with their orb, while simultaneously defending their own goal and dodging or deflecting the opposing orb. Visually it’s a good looking game with some cool avatar customization, but in my hands-on with the PSVR version, the system’s controller tracking sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t able to be as precise as I would have liked:

As you can imagine, with PSVR’s less-than-stellar tracking, having your tracking camera set up just right is important to success in Sparc; you’ll want to make sure your arms don’t exit the tracking volume when at their maximum extension in all directions. It wasn’t until I tweaked my own setup (and a fair amount of practice) that I felt like I was able to achieve reasonably accurate throws. CCP has lathered on a fair amount of aim assist to help with this (though it is reduced in the ‘Advanced’ game mode which is designed for greater levels of competition).

It remains to be seen if the more precise tracking of the Vive and Rift controllers will translate to improved throwing accuracy, and whether or not the studio is tweaking the aim assist to compensate for differences in tracking performance. For a competitive game especially, it would be unfortunate for the platforms not to be well balanced. With the game launching in two weeks, it won’t be long before we know the answers to those questions.

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  • PJ

    £20 for this? Echo Arena is free

    • johngrimoldy

      Soooooo, should the company develop, test, and support this software but not charge for it? Unless the employees are all volunteers and the facility, utilities, and equipment are all donated, there are costs related to creating software.
      In instances where software is $0, it’s part of the developer’s larger plan to eventually monetize. It seems this publisher has a different business plan.

      • PJ

        Your missing the point. The games are remarkably similar, Echo arena is very highly though of and has a steady player base. Who is going to pay £20 this, when there’s already an established product on the market?

        • They’re only similar in graphical style. The gameplay is unique (and very fun!), and a fairer comparison would be Eleven table tennis. And that costs how much, for a fraction of the production value?

  • I think this is a good thing. Sparc is a great game that simply needs more players. I know of at least a half dozen people right now that use Sparc instead of a gym-membership to get their daily work out. It’ll definitely do that… it leaves me winded every time I play (which is about as intense as a real world game of Tennis or Racket Ball).

    I can attest to the tracking issues –it’s the one area where the PSVR version really needs to be tightened up considerably. But from what I’ve seen of tracking on Rift & Vive, that shouldn’t be a problem there, at least, certainly not with Vive… the Rift… maybe, but not *bad*. Still, in spite of what issues I’ve found, I’ve also found that adjusting the room lighting down a bit, ensuring that no ceiling fans are on in between light sources (because this causes a strobe effect that the cam pics up on), and that your cam is at the right height and angle for the game you’re playing is critical and if done right, it improves tracking significantly. My only problem comes from a dodgy cam-extender cable… sometimes when I switch games, the cam jams up and requires to be unplugged and replugged before it’ll start working again –which usually prompts me to just go ahead and reboot the console so that it comes up as clean as possible before loading another game. But hey, it works, and I have a lot of fun with this system, so it’s worth it to me.

    • johngrimoldy

      This is really exciting. Titles like this and the pending Bethesda releases are making it feel like VR is finally gaining some traction.

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  • Altered Realities VR Arcade

    I would love to have this as an eSport but cannot get anyone from the company to respond to requests for commercial licensing information.