John Carmack wants to make virtual reality esports stadiums

International Final

At the end of his Oculus Connect 2 talk, John Carmack talked a bit about social applications for the Oculus Rift and VR. He explained the problems of convincing people that VR can be a social place, and how Oculus has been developing frameworks for multi-user VR applications. One of his ideas: virtual esports arenas.

People aren't all that interested in watching movies next to a friend's avatar, says Carmack, citing Netflix's experiments on the Xbox 360, but he thinks sports could work better. "When you're expecting people to be cheering and moaning and reacting to what's going on on the screen, that has some value," said Carmack. "It'd be great to have traditional mainstream sports, but perhaps even more interesting is esports, and that's what led us to Twitch and getting that integrated."

He's only talking about a few friends watching a Twitch stream on virtual screen there, but went on to talk about a bigger idea: "arena scale sociability." Carmack described a virtual crowd in the thousands that attendees can move through to find groups they want to hang out and cheer with. "I think that's very exciting and something we can do a great job on in VR," he concluded before his talk ended.

You can watch Carmack's whole talk in the archived stream, starting at 3:31:00.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.