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Valve Discuses eSports and Virtual Reality

Fans are watching an eSports tournament live... in quite the substantial numbers, like the recently sold-out Madison Square Garden.

Valve Corporation is an organization responsible for not one, but two of the most popular and influential eSports franchises: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (aka CS:GO) and Dota 2. Given that Virtual Reality (VR) titles debuted strongly, and there are two VR titles in Steam’s Top 10 “Popular New Releases” category, it was a question of time before the potential of a tie-up between eSports and VR  appears.

Not surprisingly, VR has that potential to become the social tool like Nintendo Wii once was. In an article on Fortune, Chet Faliszek, game developer and Valve’s VR evangelist talked about the appeal of VR:

“While we have The International and events where people are watching people play games, it is fun to watch someone play a VR game because they’re physically moving around in this space and making these motions that people can understand what’s happening,” Faliszek says. “It lets a broader group of people watch. It’s great spectator sport.”

While titles of today are not created for VR, you can achieve a really good VR experience in eSports games, perhaps even giving you advantage in a multi-display Virtual Desktop interfaces coming from people like Guy Godin or SpaceSys. Good example is just taking a look at this video:

While in early stages, this Steam Greenlight interface works with eSports titles right off the bat, without any need for the code from the game developers. Perhaps running a virtual desktop with large sized eSports title and side desktops with game stream software, team management etc etc.

“VR eSports is first going to be about spectating,” Faliszek says. “VR changes the game so radically. You’d need to make a game built from the ground up, and we’ll see games made for eSports.”

Given that the PC gaming market is estimated to reach $100 billion by 2019, growing from the current $38-42 billion level. eSports games such as CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends or Starcraft II are bringing in millions of fans, and let’s not forget the reincarnation of the oldest form of cheering for your team: betting on your eSports team to win. Companies such as Rahul Sood’s Unikrn are challenging the status quo, and VR might be a critical application to drive the adoption of VR in eSports. Imagine utilizing a VR desktop to open all the matches you placed a bet on.