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Introducing the VR League, powered by Oculus and ESL

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ESL and Oculus are thrilled to announce the VR League, the next step in the evolution of VR esports - returning later this month with a new face, new games, $220,000 USD in prizes and a new, more flexible structure.

The VR League launches on May 18th, starting with two returning titles and one new. Echo Arena and The Unspoken are joined by Sprint Vector, and later in 2018 will also be joined by Echo Combat alongside 2 more to-be-determind titles. Competition will take place online on ESL Play, with the full season concluding at Oculus' very own major event, Oculus Connect 5. Any game in the VR League stands a chance of being showcased at Oculus Connect, where the bulk of the $220,000 USD prize pool will be awarded.

First up in the VR League is Echo Arena from Ready at Dawn Studios, with four months of competition kicking off on May 20th. The three-vs-three tactical, zero-gravity game was a huge success throughout  the premiere VR esports season, fostering 98 registered competitive teams worldwide (a total of 258 players) after just a couple of months. Oculus and ESL are excited to help build and support the surrounding community. 

Additionally, Ready At Dawn Studios are also releasing another multiplayer expansion to Lone Echo and Echo Arena later this year, called Echo Combat. Echo Combat will have prize-supported competition as part of the VR League, so be sure to stay tuned for additional details surrounding the expansion and league in the coming months and get ready to fight in zero-g.

Also returning to the VR League is Insomniac Games’ The Unspoken on May 18th. After an exciting first season, we’re excited to see new faces and reigning champions come back and show us how The Unspoken has changed since the epic finale between Charizard and Flushgogo earlier this year.

Sprint Vector also joins the roster on June 4th for a month-long ladder on ESL Play. This addicting and highly physical racing game from Survios (creators of Raw Data) has taken the VR community by storm and quickly became a go-to title for introducing people to VR. We can’t wait to see the highest level of Sprint Vector in June!

Two additional games will also see competition on ESL play in July and August with full prize support from the VR League. There will also be non-prized ladder competition supported by the VR League for 3 more yet-to-be-decided titles as they take their first steps into organized esports. With VR esports being so new and so many new games and concepts being developed for VR, be sure to let us know if you have any titles you'd enjoy competiting in!

“We want to reward and encourage the communities that positively respond to esports, 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.”
-  Sean Charles, SVP Publisher Developer at ESL.

One highly competitive community that VR League will help support in 2018 is the grassroots Onward community. Built around Downpour Interactive’s tactical mil-sim shooter, the VR Master League has fostered a passionate community from the ground up. 

The VR League will host an Onward Invitational event at the ESL UK Studios on June 16-17th in aid of 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 2018 at the ESL UK studios, with the other two events featuring Echo Arena and Echo Combat. More details to come at a later date. 

We’re proud that so many communities have formed so quickly around such a wide variety of games, and the VR League is committed to helping VR esports grow throughout 2018 and on. Be sure to visit vr.eslgaming.com to sign up for the next tournament, and maybe we’ll see you on the big stage at Oculus Connect 5. Stay connected with the VR League on Facebook and Twitter for more updates in the coming weeks!