It was only a matter of time before some smart folks came up with the idea of taking eSports off the screen and intro virtual reality and Virtuix, a start-up that has raised over $8-million using crowdfunding website Kickstarter, has finally done it. In order to see its dream come to life, the organisation connected four headsets (HTC) to four of its Omni treadmills. These multi-directional treadmills allow players to move relatively freely and the gaming guns give players the tools they need to battle it out in the FPS game made by the same company and titled Omni Arena.
So what makes the eSports VR tournament so interesting? Well according to the company’s CEO, this is the ideal way to put the idea of sport back into eSporting, and will players to enjoy the games they love but get a little physical action too. The CEO explains that this takes “gaming out of the chair” and adds a new level of physical activity which is not only great for health, but also exciting for those playing and for the spectators.
Having been launched at CES, a global technology and consumer goods roadshow, Virtuix offered more than 100 people a chance to try out the VR game and it seems they made quite a mark. According to theCEO, this type of technology could change the future of FPS games, especially given that currently, these are difficult to play in VR as there is limited room for movement, which could lead to issues with safety and even motion sickness. But can a treadmill and a headset really solve the problem? Virtuix thinks it can, and apparently so do investors.
Virtuix started its Kickstarter campaign to raise funds almost two years ago but in that time has raised a massive amount, which is amusing considering the invention was first ‘pitched’ on an episode of Shark Tank a few years back. Despite having passed on the idea at the idea, Mark Cuban, an American businessman and billionaire, invested through Kickstarter.
So what’s the next step for Virtuix? Well, according to the company’s CEO, the next step will be allowing the public (including the company’s fans and customers) to buy shares and have their own piece of what could be a multi-billion dollar organisation. As for the actual VR eSports units, the company has already started filling orders, which will be a relief to those who are part of the 5 000 order backlog. According to developers, the device will be ‘platform-agnostic’ and players will be able to use it with Oculus Rift for Facebook as well as with Sony’s PlayStation virtual reality system.
It seems the world is moving swiftly forward and if Virtuix has its way, it won’t be long before there’s an Omni Arena in every home in America and other first-world countries. Of course, the company still has a long way to go before perfecting its invention, but the chances of seeing the device at more and more eSports tournaments in the future is sky-high.