Organizers for a VR esports tournament in Latin America discovered that people were more interested in this new form of competitive gaming than they had anticipated.

Minority Media, the game studio that created the Chaos Jump multi-player location-based VR platform, and Gaming Partners, the company’s Latin American distributor, collaborated with Arena, the leading gaming center in Mexico, to launch Arena Open, a nationwide gaming tournament that features a VR esports competition.

We’re beginning to see an increasing number of VR esports tournaments pop up around the globe, but this is the first of its kind in Latin America. Tournament organizers were surprised at the positive response and interest level following the announcement of a VR component for the Arena Open Tournament. In the first four weeks, there were already over 2,000 registered players and they project over 10,000 before the conclusion of the tournament series.

“We thought it would take longer to get players involved, because VR is still relatively new to the Mexican market,” noted Irving Velazquez, director of eSports Latam at Gaming Partners Group. “We are well over the numbers we expected for participating players. It must be because Chaos Jump is fun and easy – and the games are so cool!”

Chaos Jump

Vander Caballero, founder and CEO of Minority Media, had seen a demo of the Oculus Rift with Minority Media co-founder Julian Barnoin. They were so impressed that they obtained a dev kit and began making games for the Rift.

Minority Media’s Time Machine VR was released in early access in August 2015 and full release came a year later. Despite the fact that Time Machine VR did extremely well, clearing $1 million in revenues, sales in the VR gaming industry overall were a pittance of what had been anticipated during 2016 and 2017. Rather than see their company fail, Caballero and Barnoin began to investigate other ways of generating profit in the industry they loved.

Credit: Sonya Haskins / Xi’an, China

During his research, Caballero saw how enthusiastic people were about virtual reality in Asian countries. He also noted the fact that they had different patterns of how they accessed the technology. In China, for example, many people go to arcades or other location-based entertainment centers to enjoy VR experiences.

Based on this knowledge, Caballero saw an opportunity.

Created specifically for the location-based entertainment market, Chaos Jump is a multi-player VR arcade game platform designed by Minority Media and introduced to arcades in 2017.

In the action-packed experience, up to four players travel through time (virtually, of course) and try to retrieve gold, treasure, and artifacts from exotic worlds while avoiding the robots that are determined to stop them from their objectives. Players can cooperate with their teammates or play competitively against them, but whoever makes it back to present time with the most gold wins the game.

The ten minute experience is ideal for a VR esports event because it’s fast action, a set time (10 minutes), and exciting to watch.

Arena Open Tournament

Minority Media’s investment into location-based entertainment seems to be a good one and although organizers were only planning to include the VR component of the tournament for the month of August, it has been extended throughout the duration of the tournament due to the positive response.

Sponsored by Coca Cola, the Arena Open Tournament also includes three weeks of League of Legends in September and another game title that hasn’t yet been announced for October.

In order to participate, guests can purchase a popcorn and drink combo package ($7-8) for entry. They receive a commemorative cup and two chances to play the game. This gives new players one opportunity to learn the game and the second time they play it’s a ranked game so they compete to climb the leaderboard on the Arena One website. Competition is open to all ages and participants can enter as many times as they like, but they must do this at one of the Arena locations with the game platform. Players can try to earn better scores on the Chaos Jump leaderboards through October 26.

Arena family entertainment centers are a division of Cinemex, a Mexican chain of cinemas. Chaos Jump arenas are present in VR Zone areas at nine Arena centers in the following locations in Mexico: Puebla, Guadalajara, Cuernavaca, Metepec, Queretaro, and Mexico City.

Semi-finalists will be flown to Mexico City to compete in a finals event on November 9 that will feature Minority Media’s Reclaim!. Competitors will play four games to determine the ultimate winner.

Prizes

All semi-finalists will receive an expense paid trip to Mexico City. The total prize package also includes the following:

  • 1st place: 10,000 pesos (about $500 USD)
  • 2nd place: 5,000 pesos (about $250 USD)

Finals will be broadcast on Facebook and Twitch. Participating companies plan to make the Arena Open an annual event.


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