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Apps to Esports: Building Communities Inside and Outside of VR
Oculus Blog
August 23, 2019

TL;DR: As we head into PAX West, we wanted to reflect on the amazing communities popping up across the VR landscape. Esports provide just one example, with VR League Season 3 coming to an exciting conclusion in June 2019. Today, we celebrate VR communities in all their forms—and look ahead to what the future might hold.

From social VR experiences like Rec Room and AltspaceVR to competitive and co-op games like Echo VR and Raccoon Lagoon, from the artistic enclaves created by tools like Oculus Medium, Quill, and Tilt Brush to socially conscious experiences like NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism and Anne Frank House VR, opportunities to connect with others inside and around VR content are virtually everywhere. There’s no shortage of community both in and outside of VR (provided you know where to look), and gamers are among the most passionate community members we have. That’s why we got involved in esports—where the most driven and dedicated of gamers hone their skills to compete. And we’ve been honored to watch the VR esports community begin to form and grow.

It’s been less than three years since we first stepped inside the world of competitive esports, and a lot has changed since then. We’ve seen a shift from all eyes on influencers to the steady rise of homegrown heroes like MrRJGreen and Hasko7 to terrific teams like Globochem and BossFight. VR Master League hosted an Onward invitational to benefit gaming-based US and Allied veterans charity Stack Up. Grassroots groups like the Hamburger Helpers made VR a more welcoming space for everyone. And VR esports stepped into the spotlight on the international gaming stage.

Special Olympics let athletes of all abilities shoot free throws, throw touchdowns, and hit home runs in VR Sports Challenge at regional events across the US. And then the Road to Tokyo brought artistic creation and competition on a three-city VR sculpting tour where 24 artists battled it out in Oculus Medium for their chance to compete in the World Grand Prix of digital art battles.

Throughout it all, we’ve been blown away by the ability of people from all walks of life to come together around a shared love of VR and the unique experiences it unlocks—from gaming to art creation and beyond. At its best, VR brings people closer together regardless of physical barriers like distance or disability. We’re also excited to see more and more people building their own immersive worlds inside VR, while millions of people use AR filters to add new layers to the moments they share with friends and loved ones.

Together, AR and VR open up the space for us to imagine a future that’s radically different from the present, one where we can connect with others in a deep and meaningful way, no matter where in the world they happen to be. And as the technology slowly begins to deliver on that promise, new communities will continue to spring up in its wake. We’re honored to continue fostering those communities and their growth, and we look forward to sharing more in the coming months.

In the meantime, we hope those at PAX West will visit us in Booth # 803.

Want to hear more about how VR is helping to build communities and improve people’s lives? Check out some additional reading: