Community members and leaders from the VR Master League (VRML) and the Collegiate VR Esports League (CVRE) recently traveled to DreamHack Atlanta from as far away as Canada to introduce VR to attendees of the gaming lifestyle festival. The powerful impact of immersive reality for building relationships was extremely evident between VR community experts as well as new recruits.
“I’m excited to finally meet some of the amazing community members and friends I’ve met over the past year,” explained Isaiah Hattix, a 19-year-old from Washington, DC. Known in game as mort-, Isaiah plays Ready At Dawn’s Echo Arena for CarbonKnight in the VR Master League.
The relationships developed in VR are intense so not only do players want to hang out with their VR friends in physical reality sometimes, but VR evangelists like Hattix also have a strong desire to share the power of the technology with others. Like most of the community members who volunteered at the event, Hattix financed his own trip to Atlanta. In his case, the funds came from freelance photography and a recently finished IT internship.
“I’ve been a VR advocate in my local community circles for a while and demo my Quest almost daily,” explained Hattix, “so it was nice to be able to work with [the VR community] and Oculus to do what I’ve already been doing, but at a convention.”
After all, he stated, “VR is the future and we are the pioneers!”
While hundreds of people went through the exhibit during the 3-day event, some enjoyed the experience so much that they came back repeatedly to play the games and chat with veteran players like Hattix.
One such group who returned to the exhibit several times was Team Dixx. According to leader Chuck, who flew down from New York to attend DreamHack, “Team Dixx organizes international ‘meet-ups’ multiple times per year, where our goals are to build camaraderie, create content, [and] connect with people.”
Chuck heard about the VR area on the DreamHack app and says he was excited to see how it would be executed.
“To my enjoyment,” he stated, “it was very hands on, and extremely fun!”
Another member of Team Dixx who visited the VR exhibit was AGGR3SSOR, who serves on active duty in the U.S. military and is stationed in Virginia.
“I had a great time using the equipment,” explained AGGR3SSOR, “and at least a dozen of our team members will be VR-ready by the end of the year as a result of the exhibit.”
“But my favorite part of the exhibit was meeting with the various representatives from the staff and the VR leagues,” he added, “We were able to get honest answers from real gamers who were there because of their love of the games and the VR community. We learned about the various games and hardware options, and we connected with like-minded communities as a result of meeting with real people.”
Oculus, Intel, and ESL teamed up in July 2017 to launch the VR Challenger League, specifically dedicated to VR esports. The name later changed to VR League and season 3 finals were held in Leicester, UK in June of this year. Although the focus of ESL is competitive VR esports, they teamed up with Oculus for the DreamHack event as a way to present games and leagues to an audience that consists largely of traditional gamers.
Fortunately gamers who are used to playing flat games on 2D screens were impressed with the immersive qualities of virtual reality. Not only did they return to the exhibit, but many of the guests went on to tell other gamers about the exhibit.
“You can’t buy advertising like that,” stated AGGR3SSOR, “It’s trusted gamer friends telling their teammates that the future of gaming has arrived – and now it’s affordable AND it will run on your current gaming rig.”
He admitted that if they hadn’t been able to actually try the hardware and play VR games at DreamHack, they would’ve remained unimpressed.
“Showcasing VR on a screen will never do it the justice it deserves,” he explained. “People need to get their heads into it in order to fully understand.”
This is why VR enthusiasts like Hattix and many others take the Oculus Quest, a portable standalone headset, with them as they go about their daily lives. After all, you never know when the conversation might turn to virtual reality and the best way to introduce VR is simply to let someone try it.
Multiplayer games featured at DreamHack Atlanta on the Oculus Rift S were Downpour Interactive’s Onward, Ready At Dawn’s Echo VR (Echo Arena and Echo Combat), and Phaser Lock Interactive’s Final Assault. Beat Games’ Beat Saber 360, and Cloudhead Games’ Pistol Whip were played on Oculus Quests.
Many visitors to the VR exhibit wanted to join our VR communities and were eager to learn more about the games, leagues, and communities represented. Please refer to the following links for more information.
VR Master League
Collegiate VR Esports League
VR Community Builders