Ladies and gentlemen, our cyberpunk future is upon us. 3D Printers can crank out nearly anything you can dream of, the internet is practically a utility, you can even make a living playing games professionally, and, at the upcoming ESL One New York Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, you'll be able to watch those professionals play in virtual reality.
This is the result of a collaboration with SLIVER.tv, who recently raised $6.2 million in seed to launch the beta of their 360 degree VR esports platform. It is important to note that this will be the first time a live esporting event has ever been streamed out in VR.
"We're very excited to be able to launch our very first VR live stream from ESL One New York with the help of SLIVER.tv," stated ESL's Production Manager, Stuart Ewen. "This new method of broadcasting is going to give viewers a taste of what it's like to be in the arena at an esports mega event, and give people a brand new perspective on top level CS:GO through an in-game VR camera. Esports helped to pioneer online streaming, and we couldn't be more proud to take the next step into the future of broadcast media with this initiative."
Up to this point, SLIVER.tv has only been able to provide clips of recorded games and events, available via VOD. As silly as this all sounds, I'll reserve my judgement. Immersive 360 degree live experience may well be the future of eSports, giving viewers a new way to examine every play and post on forums how they would have done it much differently, though I suspect that this sort of technology won't be nearly as useful for more 2D competitive affairs like Street Fighter or League of Legends.
You'll be able to judge all of this for yourself on Oct. 1st through the 2nd, on your computer, mobile device, or VR headset.