Despite the speed with which technology is advancing today, it sometimes seems like we’re never recovering from the high science fiction ambitions of old Hollywood movies. The 1982 film Tron, for example, presented us with a vision of the future with a neon tone, where players could compete in integral digital sports. Despite all our advances in virtual reality (VR) technology over the past few years, something like The Grid still feels weird.
But that could be about to change. Arcadia.tv is a first idea of its kind that promises to be the future of sports. It combines sports and sports to create digital experiences that still require athletics. Participants get together on a physical stage, create an Oculus Quest and compete in games that combine the basics of sports and classic arcade successes. The games will be broadcast on Arcadia’s social media channels so everyone can watch them. After operating in secret for three years, Arcadia.tv is ready to launch its modern commitment to sports in the world.
I sat down with Arcadia.tv CEO Chris Olimpo to learn more about how everything works. According to Olympus, Arcadia is the “link between sports and traditional sports” that aims to solve a huge problem with the impending metaverse.
More Tron, less Wall-E
Arcadia.tv has been in development for three years quietly. The spark for the idea arose when Olympus was working in the virtual reality industry, creating virtual reality experiences for big clients like Universal (previously, Olympus produced and directed a Tom Cruise VR film). While in love with technology, Olympus worried about the direction he saw leading us.
“We did something fantastic in South by Southwest, where we had people sitting in those big red chairs,” Olympus tells Digital Trends. “I immediately thought Wall-E and I thought, “Oh no, that’s not the future we should build.” And then I looked Tron and he said, ‘This is the future we are supposed to build. How do we build it? “
To counter his fears of a dystopian future, Olympus founded Arcadia.tv. The unique blend of video games and sports puts physicality at the forefront of virtual reality. Players compete in a digital space, but it’s more active than your standard video game. Competitors use their body as a controller, throwing themselves around a real arena in real time next to their opponents.
It looks a lot like something you would see Ready Player One, which recalls the concept of metaverse. Companies like Epic and Facebook have spent the last few years pushing to bring the metaverse concept to life by delving deeper into our digital experiences. Arcadia adapts a lot to this great future, and Olympus calls it “the sport of metavers.” But as companies like Epic make it possible for players to sit at a computer and play, Arcadia wants to make sure we’re healthy in an increasingly digital future.
“To be honest, it’s our effort to keep humanity in the metaverse,” says Olympus. “I think technology does the best service when it accelerates the human experience … Arcadia is something that tries to remind the world that this body we have is very important. The brain doesn’t work well without a healthy body. If you experience anything in the metaverse, you may want to run and play instead of stretching and getting inside ”.
Players versus athletes
Arcadia.tv includes a series of tailor-made games in which players can compete. They usually combine the basics of a real sport with ideas from classic games. For example, a game has players running between moving digital barriers. It is essentially Frogger meets the real-life track and field.
Arcade influence is not an accident. Olympus recalls an anecdote that guides the philosophy of how Arcadia games are constructed with the public in mind.
“We were at a fair a few years ago and no one expected virtual reality in a row,” says Olympus. “There was this little one Galaga machine, and I started playing. I broke 50,000 and a tiny little crowd began to form around me. My co-worker asked, “What happened there?” and I said, ‘I broke 100,000 Galaga. “There’s an audience experience built into that; VR doesn’t have that.”
Although Arcadia.tv has not yet been broadcast to viewers, the team itself is its current audience. They have been watching the competitors play the show and have been amazed by the results. Olympus is especially baffled because players tend to perform better than athletes in tests, although the latter have some physical advantage.
“With someone very athletic versus someone who is a super player, you really don’t know who will win,” Olympus says. “There are very athletic people who just go and aren’t necessarily familiar with the patterns of video games, while gamers really get it. Players learn very fast and learn through iteration. In the first five levels, you’re sure to win a athlete and then there will be a turning point where the player will just overtake them. “
This highlights the unique skills needed for both sports and sports. The latter may not require physical strength, but fast reaction time and adaptability are crucial skills for professional players. Arcadia creates a uniform playing field between these two disparate worlds.
The future of sports
The idea is already bearing fruit in Arcadia. The company recently partnered with Warner Bros. to create an official Space Jam experience. The basketball game has players running around a court, grabbing digital balls and shooting them in hoops. Olympus compares it to Pac-Man, with players chasing pellets, but broke with the basic idea of basketball.
This is a high profile partnership for a start-up that hasn’t really started yet. Arcadia is testing across the country to find competitors. Finally, it will follow this with live game broadcasts on its social media channels. For the team, the sky is the limit. What Arcadia does has never really been attempted in this regard and Olympus has high hopes for where it might go.
“We want to standardize the playing field and give respect to sports. Just as the Olympics used to have chess and really respected the cognitive ability of chess, I think sports have a place in the Olympics. But with something like Arcadia, I think it makes it more enjoyable for the masses. There is something about combining this cognitive and physical competition in a new way, and the truth is that we will do it with or without the Olympic Games ”.
The only potential hurdle for Arcadia is that it depends entirely on external technology. The team is at the mercy of hardware manufacturers, who use Oculus Rift headphones to run games. Just an hour before our chat, Oculus recalled the Quest 2’s foam filling due to skin irritation reports. Any small problem with technology presents a logistical challenge for Arcadia. While fun enough, the company had already created sweat-resistant custom padding for use on the Oculus, putting them one step ahead of real manufacturers. Olympus does not rule out a future in which Arcadia will simply create its own virtual reality headsets and completely cut the middleman.
Everything about Arcadia.tv is futuristic. This is not a quick cash draw trying to take advantage of sports or RV. It is a carefully considered project that not only wants to be part of the step towards the metaverse; you want to redefine it. Olympus already foresees a future in which our way of thinking about video games is totally different from the way we see them today.
“I see a future where parents will say to their kids,‘ Why don’t you go out and play video games? “, Diu.