ESL, the world’s largest esports company, is proud to announce that it has teamed up with Oculus to once again bring to life the biggest VR competition series worldwide, boasting over US$220,000 in prize money. After a highly successful first season, the VR League will relaunch with a new, more flexible tournament system. Featuring up to seven games over a five-month period, the VR League is set to be action-packed from the get-go, right up to its climactic grand finale at Oculus’ flagship developer conference, Oculus Connect 5.
The VR League kicks off on May 18th with a month of competitive play in The Unspoken, followed by a month of Sprint Vector competition beginning June 4th. Two additional to-be-determined games will see prized competition hosted on ESL Play in the months of July and August. In addition, there will be non-prized ladder-style competition showcased on ESL Play and supported by the VR League, which will see another three yet-to-be-decided games take their first steps into organized esports.
Echo Arena returns to VR League with a four-month competition kicking off on May 20th 2018. The three-vs-three tactical, zero-gravity game was a true success story coming out of the inaugural VR esports season, fostering 98 registered competitive teams worldwide (a total of 258 players) after just a couple of months. Oculus and ESL look to expand on this success and continue to build and grow the surrounding community. Ready At Dawn, the creators of Echo Arena, are set to release an expansion (Echo Combat) later this year, which will also feature a ladder-style competition, albeit one that is prized, as part of the VR League.
“We want to reward and encourage the communities that positively respond to esports,” said Sean Charles, SVP Publisher Developer at ESL. “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.”
“Oculus is committed to fostering long-term growth of the VR esports ecosystem, and season two — with its new format and additional games—is an amazing next step on this exciting journey,” says Oculus Head of Esports Chris McKelvy.
One highly competitive community that VR League will help support in 2018 is the grassroots Onward community. Built around Downpour Interactive’s tactical, military shooter from then-solo developer Dante Buckley, the VR Master League has organically fostered a passionate group of esports enthusiasts. Oculus and ESL’s VR League will host an Onward Invitational event in the ESL UK Studios on June 16-17, 2018 to benefit Stack Up, a charity supporting US and Allied veterans through gaming. This is set to be one of three offline studio events taking place in the ESL UK Studios, with others featuring Echo Arena and Echo Combat (details to be released at a later date).
Games featured in the VR League 2018 (big or small) stand a chance to be showcased at the VR industry’s biggest event of the year, Oculus Connect 5. The bulk of the over US$220,000 VR League prize pool will be awarded at the fifth installment of the annual VR developer conference. Interested parties should refer to the official website for contact and further information.