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John Carmack wants to make virtual reality esports stadiums

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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 (opens in new tab), starting at 3:31:00.

Tyler Wilde
Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.