Gaming software company CCP Games has developed what is described as the first vSport (aka Virtual Reality Sport). Known as Sparc, the recently-released title contains engaging and detailed 360-degree optics. The general idea behind the game is that players throw virtual balls at each other in a game format that can simply be described as a combination between tennis and dodgeball.
The VR-based sports game was recently tested by former New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon, who trialed the technology at Yankee Stadium over the weekend. Damon faced off against other US troops stationed in bases throughout the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait through what is known as the Pro vs GI Joe program.
“We’ve been waiting for games like this since we were kids, and the future is here now. It’s amazing,” says Damon when interviewed on his experiences playing the VR-based sports game. “I’m trying to figure out how to defend that hard bounce-ball. They (Damon’s opponents) figured that out, and it’s just going everywhere. You can’t stop it. That’s how they’ve been getting me.”
Adam Kahn, Director of Communications at CCP Games, described the gameplay of Sparc as being designed for simplicity, having an easy, and graspable concept. Having said that, Kahn noted how the “mastery curve” was steep.
“Our number one goal is to entertain people,” says Kahn when asked about the software company’s primary goals with this breakthrough gaming platform.
Development for Sparc dates as far back as 2013. The Icelandic-based company’s innovations for the game can be traced back to their Atlanta office, when the company hired what they described as “eight special forces, amazing tech gurus with VR interest.” The group was charged with a simple task where they didn’t have to come up with a game, and just experiment with virtual reality to see what they’re capable of achieving and what else was possible.
Development went through trials where gamer user characters could toss discs, kick boxes, and even throw fireballs from their hands and feet. This was made possible using Microsoft’s motion-sensing console system developed earlier in the decade. The disc game also contained the most potential, evolving into the ball-throwing VR-based sport known as Sparc.
According to Damon, the gameplay was both contagious and freaky, due to its all-consuming portal into the virtual dimension. Damon thinks Sparc is not only a great game with a promising future, but also a great way to get physical exercise. Sparc already has an enthusiastic customer in Damon, and is likely to garner more high-profile consumers in the future.