First VR racket game becomes official sport
In the cybersports game “Racket: Nx,” players smash a futuristic squash ball with a virtual racket against the walls of a 360-degree arena. The game is now recognized as an official sport – and even wants to become an Olympic discipline.
The environment in Racket:Nx may be virtual, but the sweat is quite real. The VR squash is quite exhausting, just like real squash – and a bit more. Instead of just chasing the ball against a flat wall in front of you, you’ll have to keep it in play in a circular arena, aiming pretty accurately. Different plates on the wall trigger different actions or score points. Racket:Nx supports single and multiplayer modes.
Racquetball association recognizes Racket:Nx as a sports discipline
Now development studio One Hamsa announces that the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) has recognized Racket:Nx as an official sports discipline. This recognition is valid from April 1, 2022.
“With this action, Racquet:Next becomes the first electronic game of any sort to become an official global sport,” the studio writes.
The federation, in turn, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The long-term goal of the studio and the federation is for Racket:Nx to become an Olympic discipline.
As part of these ambitions, the studio is also renaming Racket:Nx as Racket:Next – as the game is the “next big thing” in racquet sports.
A big idea and the biggest idea
Although Racquet:Next is now a good five years old, One Hamsa is sticking with the VR game and continuing to develop it – precisely because it sees its title as a sport rather than a single game.
The pandemic, the studio says, has shown that one’s home can become a sports arena. “The world has changed, and we are moving forward,” the studio writes.
The “big idea”, it states, is to become the most popular racquetball discipline and thus the “biggest sport in the world.”
“Racquet sports overall are the largest sports category in the world, eclipsing even world soccer,” says studio CEO Assaf Ronen. The studio’s “biggest idea” is to become the most important sport in the Metaverse.
Since Racket:Nx’s initial release in early 2017 for SteamVR, the VR sports game has appeared on several platforms and is one of the most successful virtual reality sports apps ever. According to One Hamsa, Racket:Next currently has 300,000 players worldwide. The strongest platform is Meta Quest 2, and the number of players on Chinese platforms has been increasing since 2021.
A free demo of Racket:Next is available for Meta Quest in the App Lab.
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