Virtual Reality is not a completely new concept. The first prototypes of VR were made a long time ago and looked a lot different from the modern VR devices. So, before we talk about the first attempts of VR games to enter esports, we should take a brief look at the history of VR technology itself.
Virtual Reality aims to put you into a completely new and unreal surrounding. The technology is based on the five basic senses that allow us to experience the world around us. In simple words, VR makes our brain “believe” the virtual world is real by sending it “fake” signals. We interact with this virtual world by using a pair of goggles and special treadmills with a low-friction surface on which you can glide and imitate real actions (e.g. running).
As VR technology advances, it becomes an object of scientific research. Though the concept of VR was put forward a long time ago, it is only now that the technology is beginning to rapidly develop. That’s why you may have trouble finding information about it, especially when you need to come up with a college essay on this topic. Therefore, lots of students just don’t bother searching for it and order their papers from the best custom writing services.
The first attempts to create an environment in which people could feel like they were somewhere they were not, took place in the 19th century. 360 degrees murals on walls intended to provide the feeling of presence in a different place. We can consider them the first prototypes of modern VR. A good example of such a mural is the Battle of Borodino by Franz Roubaud.
An experiment conducted by Charles Wheatstone in 1838 revealed that the 2D-image each of our eyes receives is interpreted by our brain as a 3D-one. This discovery led to the invention of the View-Master stereoscope. The principle is still used today in Google Cardboard and low budget viewers that work with your cell phone.
The next big prototype of a VR machine was a flight simulator developed by Edward Link in 1929. Called “Link Trainer”, it allowed US pilots to practice their skills in a much safer environment. The machine could imitate the behavior of a real plane, thus preparing pilots to cope with turbulence and disturbances.
Then, there was Sensorama. Developed by Morton Heilig in the mid-1950s, it was a multi-sensory machine for watching films. It had stereo speakers, a 3D display, a vibrating chair, smell generators, and fans. Sensorama was designed to immerse the viewer into the atmosphere of a film. Morton Heilig shot six films specifically for his machine.
The first head-mounted VR device appeared in the 1960s and was also developed by Morton Heilig. The gadget provided its wearer with a 3D picture and stereo sound. After that, there were many attempts to create a full-fledged VR machine, including 1993 SEGA VR glasses and 1995 Nintendo Virtual Boy.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the rapid development of computer technologies led to them becoming significantly cheaper. Mobile technologies also advanced a lot, thus allowing VR gadgets to become smaller and more powerful. All that combined has helped VR enter thousands of households around the world.
And since we’re on the subject of VR, we can’t help but mention esports that have developed in parallel with advanced computer technologies.
The first cybersport competition is believed to be the Red Annihilation tournament which was held in the US in 1997. The event drew 2,000 players from across the US who battled it out for John Carmack’s red Ferrari 328 GTS. Later on, League of Legends and Dota gathered thousands of participants. Back then, the players had to rely on their consoles and skills to defeat other contestants.
Advances in VR technology have brought esports to a whole new level. Today, VR gamers use not only their controllers but also their body to jump, slide, run, and dodge. They look totally different from the way they did ten or twenty years ago. It is now necessary to train your body to be agile and quick in order to withstand competition.
In June 2017, VR League, the first virtual reality league sponsored by Intel, Oculus, and ESL, was launched. During its first season, the event featured Echo Arena and The Unspoken games. It was followed by the Collegiate Virtual Reality eSports, a league for collegiate level VR competitors, which was started in January 2018. Now in its second season, the CVRE is providing players with an opportunity to participate in Echo Arena and Beat Saber competitions.
These two major events may be considered the first attempts of VR games to enter esports. VR has a lot more to offer in terms of gaming experience and we’re bound to see more of it in cybersports given the rapid advances in technology we’re seeing today. Apart from sheer enthusiasm, there is one more thing that drives the industry’s growth, which is money. In 2018, VR revenue exceeded $900 million, and by 2021 it is expected to reach $1 billion. As we can see, VR will be making further inroads in esports in the future.