Technology continues to move at a fast pace, and the world of virtual reality is starting to feel more real than ever. Anyone who has worn a modern virtual reality (VR) headset will know that it is very easy to get lost in the world and transported away in an experience which is eerily like the real thing. While this technology has its roots in gaming, as well as being a visual phenomenon for films, it is now starting to come into the world of sports.
In September 2018, Youtube channel Oculus documented the latest evolutionary step in VR’s role within e-Sports.
Starting Off Small, And ‘Confined’
We have already seen a move towards sports and artificial intelligence with the rise of e-sports, which have become a huge event across many different sports. As recently reported by the official Beltway blog, Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross recently played a virtual reality darts match, which was a harmless bit of fun, but you wouldn’t be surprised to see these types of matches become a lot more serious. As noted on the authoritative Darts 501, the sport is unique for being played in a confined space and demanding no real level of fitness. Thus, it is particularly well-suited to the world of virtual reality and it won’t be long until two people will be able to have what feels like a real darts match, even if they are thousands of miles apart.
While this could easily build upon the existing role of technology in business, there are, of course, large parts of the sport which will be missing if two people were to play over VR. One of the things that people love to do is get out there, quaff some beverages, and watch their favorite stars in action in the flesh:
Living the drama and waiting impatiently for the next “one-hundred-and-eiiiiiighty!” is a reason why attendances have increased for the sport’s most prestigious events. No amount of VR evolution could substitute for the real thing, and the social aspect of being able to go to the darts, have a laugh and become part of history is what has transformed it from a sports bar pastime to an international phenomenon.
Virtual Reality – There, But Not Quite…
With App development in a constant state of acceleration, you wouldn’t be surprised to see VR darts become competitive at some level, it’s clearly not going to be a replacement for the real thing just yet. That is, at least, until a fan can pay for the VR experience of making it seem like they are actually at an illustrious venue, such as Alexandra Palace or even Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light.
The world of VR can only ever increase its influence on sports and e-Sports, and, if entire worlds can be simulated, then VR developers should have no trouble in negotiating the small matter of ticket sales. For now, ultimately, the world of VR is in a very early stage, confined largely to its role within the evolution of gaming. Yet, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross playing a much more serious game of VR darts in the near future.