ESL is punching up what eSports mean by tying an exciting new partnership with Oculus, one of the best-known makers of VR headsets. The partnership will rekindle the ESL-backed VR league with a total prize pool of $220,000.
Launching today, the VR League will have three titles in the first stages, including Echo Arena, The Unspoken, and Sprint Vector. Another VR title, Echo Combat, will be added later in 2018. ESL has reported that there will be two additional games which are yet to be determined.
The first game to debut at the event will be The Unspoken developed by Insomniac Games.
Starting on 20 May, Echo Arena will enter a competitive gear over the next four months. Echo Arena is a tactical game that pits teams of three in a zero-gravity environment. Echo Arena sports 98 competitive teams as per ESL’s estimates and the new partnership will help the grassroots community expand and build a strong support around the game itself.
The game’s developer, Ready At Dawn Studios, will also introduce a new title called Echo Combat, which is an expansion for the mainstay products, namely Lone Echo and Echo Arena.
Later in June, Sprint Vector will also become part of the family and be available on ESL Play. Players may enjoy this particularly fast-paced racer game. Sprint Vector is hardly just a competitive game. It’s a way to introduce your friends to the exciting VR segment.
More titles will come in July and August, respectively. The games have not yet been selected, as the VR segment is new and it promises a rapid development of new and potentially competitive games.
Apart from the professional ladder, ESL enthusiasts will be able to participate in a non-prize competition. ESL SVP Publisher Develop Sean Charles had this to say:
‘We want to reward and encourage the communities that positively respond to esports, with VR League in 2018 we are taking a more flexible approach: we want to engage as many prospective VR esports stars as possible, and so have left a few slots open to be filled in the coming weeks. We want to listen to the respective VR gaming communities and go where we’re needed and can have the biggest impact.’
As helping communities expand has always been ESL’s mission, the new VR initiative will aid Onward’s already burgeoning community soar to new heights. The league will host an Onward Invitational on 16 and 17 June. The games will be broadcast from the ESL UK Studios.
In fact, this will be the first ESL offline studio event taking place where the VR league is concerned in 2018. The Onward event is also part of the Stack Up initiative which has been supporting US veterans through gaming. More detailed information about the future growth of VR eSports and the VR League can be found at the official website.