Although I’m a competitive person, my legs were somewhat messed up when I was young so I couldn’t compete in sports with the other kids, but my brother and I would go to the local pool hall to play foosball. Although I wasn’t actually running across the field playing soccer, it was fun to imagine that I was one of the miniature players.
When I attended the World XR Forum in Switzerland earlier this summer, I had the privilege of playing Koliseum Soccer VR with other professionals in the VR industry. Kynoa, a Swiss VR development company, created the immersive table top soccer experience and it doesn’t take as much imagination to envision oneself running across the field in Koliseum Soccer VR since the little soccer players actually do that!
Based on traditional table soccer, or foosball, Koliseum Soccer VR has the same basic goal. You manipulate knobs that control the bars with the virtual customizable soccer players. Those virtual players can be displayed onto a television or other screen so that others can watch your success just as they might watch an actual soccer match. Competitors are actually immersed in the game so they have a field level view from the headset.
The gameplay is fantastic and it’s particularly fun to kick the ball really hard, making it fly high above the other players. Another fun feature is “the dribble,” which allows a player to disconnect from the bar and start running toward the goal.
One interesting aspect of this game was the possibility for marketing. The scope of the arena is more impressive when you’re actually in a headset, but when you watch the video, you can see advertising along the perimeter and grandstands. Since it’s likely that a product like Koliseum Soccer VR would end up in places that cater to groups, it was a creative idea to include the option for in-game marketing in such a way that actually adds to, rather than detracts from, the experience.
Koliseum Soccer VR was designed with VR esports in mind and when you watch others play the game, it becomes obvious that the players are totally immersed in the competition while spectators outside VR are invested in rooting for their chosen teams. This would be a wonderful game for competitive VR esports tournaments and events.
When I spoke with Kynoa representative Frank Kessaratos, he indicated the company is definitely planning to host tournaments in the future. The Koliseum Soccer VR Steam page states that they “even plan on organizing the World Cup of table soccer VR.” Definitely VRFI will share that news when it’s available!
Meanwhile, if you don’t have access to a Koliseum Soccer VR set-up near you, the game is also available in early access on Steam. Although Kynoa is still developing new features, players can already enjoy training and practice modes as well as competition against AI bots. Other special features include bonuses that activate some exciting variations.
- Multiball: two additional balls to arrive on the pitch
- Death Ball: the ball destroys everything on its path
- Lob: the ball goes over to nearest opponent
The game can be played standing, seated, or room-scale, and it’s compatible with the Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
You can inquire about Koliseum Soccer VR on the Kynoa website, purchase a home copy through Steam, or join the VR table soccer community through the following links.