I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to playing The Unspoken virtual reality game on the Oculus Rift. And I don't mean above average interest. I'm talking five to six hour sessions standing in one place, arms sore from casting spells while fighting for my virtual life, and even then, I have to force myself to stop playing.
The good news is, I'm apparently not alone. Microsoft, Oculus, and Insomniac Games just announced the first national esports tournament dedicated to other hardcore addicts of the VR game that allows you to take on the persona of a sorcerer battling other spell masters in various urban environments.
The tournaments will be held in 80 Microsoft Stores around the U.S. and Canada (except Quebec) starting on May 13 and will offer prizes to winners valued at $7,500 in total.
For those unfamiliar with the game, the easiest way to explain it is that it lets you become Doctor Strange in VR (although the game has no official connection to the film or comic book) as you cast spells and summon demons while battling other players.
Part of the fun of the game is the fact that the Oculus Touch controllers allow the spell casting gestures to feel incredibly natural, ultimately resulting in a gaming experience that truly delivers a sense of presence in another reality. Yes, you begin to feel as though you actually possess magical powers (at least in VR).
For the past few months I've been deeply immersed in The Unspoken gaming community (nope, not telling you my handle) and there's not only a great deal of passion around the game, but there have been frequent requests for an esports tournament for the game's devotees. Oculus won't reveal numbers regarding how many players are in the community, but the company says it's one of the most popular VR games in its store.
This new development is essentially a dream come true for many Unspoken fans. And while esports have primarily been the domain of traditional 2D gaming pros, this step by Microsoft, with support from Asus, Intel, Insomniac and Oculus, is a strong indication that we may be about to enter the era of VR esports.
Prizes for The Unspoken esports tournament will include a complete Oculus Rift set-up with PC as well as cash. Semifinals will be held on May 20 and the championship will come on June 20.