E-sport allows players to exercise themselves thanks to virtual reality

“Run, run! » With virtual reality, eSports frees itself from controllers and allows several players to compete on the same, very physical ground. In France, young people shoot Virtual Sports Arena (EVA) aims to open a hundred “arenas” by 2024. In reality, these fields are large QR codes drawn on the floor of hangars located in an industrial area. Like a “laser game”, a dozen players move there at the same time armed with a rifle that allows aiming, but adorned with a virtual reality helmet connected to an on-board computer in a backpack.

On the virtual side, the action can take place in the heart of the jungle, in the middle of the desert or on the planet Mars. Depending on the game mode, it’s every man for himself, or a team sport to control the opposing territory. When an avatar is hit, the player is eliminated and must go to a restart point. of “lack of real physical exertion” it’s “One of the reasons why esports isn’t considered a real sport” asserts Jean Mariotte, founder of EVA, during a demonstration for the press in Beauchamp (Val-d’Oise), the first of the 14 franchised rooms opened in France and Belgium.

The commands are simple: “Run, run! To squat, you squat. » Participants, whose position is detected by sensors on their helmets and rifles, feel like they’re actually in the game and usually end up sweating. However, beware of sudden movements, collisions are never far away. “EVA is a large structure, with very expensive facilities and equipment” explains Ludovic Donati, manager of Volt Events, which markets several competitive solutions, including Hado, a “dodgeball” in augmented reality, a real phenomenon and a new sport in Japan.

Physical competitions

“You see the environment as it really is, but special effects will be added on top of that” , he explains, specifically mentioning the virtual fireball projectile. A game lasts only 80 seconds, because “It’s very physical”. Both experiences are part of so-called free-motion solutions, unlike experiences where the user is static and moves only virtually, a discrepancy that often leads to a mixed feeling, called motion sickness. “One in two people can’t stand itsays Ludovic Donati. This is why many VR rooms are closed. »

EVAs like Hado and other solutions that are more or less simple to develop and operate are destined to become sports and not simple attractions, their promoters who are now trying to invest in the US market want to believe. The first teams and competitions have been created and both experiments aim to take advantage of the 2024 Paris Olympics to gain a following.

After an EVA test during a corporate event, Mathieu Lacrouts, head of communications agency specializing in video games Hurrah, said he was surprised by a “Unanimously positive response”. “Everyone got into the game, from the least skilled to the most competitive” , he says. Compared to immersive games that have invested in the sports niche, such as FitXR (acquired by Meta) or the famous rhythm game Beat Saber, the real strong point of these rooms is that “To deliver an experience impossible to replicate at home” , encouraging players to return to progress, he explains. And to reach an ever wider audience, Jean Mariotte announced that it had raised 5 million euros to develop an experience “Who is not a shooter” (shooting game).

Leave a Comment