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VR Sports on the Rise: Will Virtual Taekwondo Make it to the Olympics?

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Don’t fancy getting someone’s foot launched into your head? Virtual Taekwondo is the perfect solution. In this new virtual Machina Sport, you get decked out in full-body motion-tracking sensors and throw on a headset. Then, you put your kicking skills to the test in a virtual realm against a real opponent. VR-powered Taekwondo represents a new frontier for combat sports, as it’s able to recreate the feel of the original sport but without the risk of injury, particularly brain trauma. 

Virtual Taekwondo is the brainchild of Singapore-based tech company Refract. They wanted to recreate legendary fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken in real life. Refract has successfully created an immersive gaming experience where you actually feel like you’re fighting against a human opponent. Refract’s Virtual Taekwondo uses full-body motion-tracking powered by the company’s Active XR Interface System (AXIS). It’s like playing an ultra-realistic video game, but instead of clicking buttons, you actually get a serious workout as you throw kicks and bounce around in an effort to avoid your opponent’s strikes. With the AXIS technology, virtually every sport can be taken to the virtual realm.

How Does Virtual Taekwondo Work?

To play Virtual Taekwondo, you need to wear a VR headset and up to 10 sensors, which are applied all over your body. The sensors ensure that even the slightest twitch of your body is captured and projected into the game in real time. In front of you, there’s a massive HD screen where you can see yourself and your opponent. If you enjoy fighting games but can’t ever drag yourself to the gym, this may be the perfect solution because you burn some serious calories while playing VR Taekwondo.

You aren’t attached to any cable or wires when you play Virtual Taekwondo. You have total freedom to move around the game. Due to the number of sensors on your entire body, you can create your own fighting style, for example, you focus on throwing quick jabs to your opponent’s body or get a little more creative and unleash spinning kicks to the other fighter’s head. However, we recommend doing a few stretches before you start leaping in the air and doing your best Bruce Lee impression.

The rules in Virtual Taekwondo are exactly the same as Olympic Taekwondo. The goal is to score points through controlled and accurate strikes using hands and feet. Legal target areas include the torso and head. Punches and kicks with proper technique are allowed, with points awarded based on the contact’s accuracy and power. However, certain actions, such as hitting below the waist or using prohibited techniques, result in penalties. Whoever has the most points at the end of the match wins.

Refract is excited about the future of their AXIS platform. They believe that the takeover of VR sports is inevitable as this technology improves. Traditional sports will be forced to adapt and add the latest technology. The IOC has already shown that they’re willing to include non-traditional sports in the Olympics, so it may not be too long until virtual sports enter the Olympics.

President of the World Taekwondo Federation Sees VR Taekwondo in the 2028 Olympic Games

Dr. Chungwon Choue, President of the World Taekwondo Federation, is excited about the partnership with Refract, and he envisions virtual sports and virtual Taekwondo debuting at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. He said, “In today’s society, it’s never been more important to transcend physical barriers. With Virtual Taekwondo, we promote fitness, well-being, and community to a wider, digitally-savvy audience.” 

The exciting thing about Virtual Taekwondo and other virtual sports is the barriers it breaks down. No longer will athletes be confined to competing against their own gender or age group. Also, virtual sports give athletes without access to training partners or facilities a more equal chance.

Virtual Taekwondo was recently one of nine featured games at the Olympic Esports Series 2023, making Dr. Chungwon Choue’s vision of VR Taekwondo becoming an Olympic sport that much closer to reality. The event, which took place in Singapore on the 25th of June, featured 16 talented athletes. In a thrilling contest, two-time Olympic gold medalist Wu Jingyu took the bronze medal after being defeated by local youth athlete Nigel Tan, who earned gold, while fellow Singaporean athlete Natalie Tor took the silver medal.

Sport Enthusiast, Builder of brands, and proud founder of Machina Sports, dedicated to pioneering the fusion of human athleticism with cutting-edge technology. Committed to creating a global platform and brand that celebrates the excitement and innovation inherent in Machina Sports while engaging a diverse community of enthusiasts and athletes worldwide.

AR/VR

HADO Shows What’s Possible With Augmented Reality

Are you looking for a new sport? HADO may be it! Find out why this AR-powered sport has the whole of Japan buzzing!

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Have you ever dreamt of throwing hadoukens or channeling your inner Goku and unleashing a Kamehameha blast? Well, with HADO, you can! HADO is an exciting new Machina Sport which is essentially augmented reality’s version of dodgeball. Players were headsets and armband sensors, giving them the power to throw energy balls and put up shields. The goal of the game is to strike the opposing players with an energy ball without being hit yourself.

History of HADO

Meleap, founded by Hiroshi Fukuda in 2011, initially focused on creating innovative technologies that would bridge the gap between the virtual and physical worlds. The company’s early projects explored various applications of augmented reality, laying the groundwork for what would eventually become HADO.

The concept for HADO began to take shape around 2014, as Meleap engineers and developers experimented with different prototypes and ideas. Hiroshi Fukuda, the visionary behind the project, aimed to design a sport that not only leveraged cutting-edge technology but also encouraged physical activity and social interaction.

HADO Rules Explained

HADO is a team sport played with up to three people on each team which is played on a small indoor court with a line down the middle which separates the two teams. A HADO match only lasts 80 seconds, so it’s a high-intensity sport, and the best athletes show impressive explosiveness. Players throw energy balls at each other, and for every hit, players earn points. The team with the most points at the buzzer wins. On the off chance the match ends in a draw, then the two teams battle it in a sudden death overtime, where the first team to score wins.

Players avoid the energy balls by ducking and weaving. They also can throw up a virtual shield which blocks the energy balls. To fire an energy ball, a player needs to lift their arm in the air to charge and then straighten their arm to fire. To pull out your shield, you need to lower your arm to charge it and then swing it upwards.

What Do You Need to Play?

Playing HADO requires an AR headset and wrist sensors. The AR headset provides players with a visual overlay of the digital elements in the physical environment. This head-mounted display is responsible for projecting the virtual arena, energy balls, and other interactive elements.

It typically includes a screen, lenses, and sensors that track the player’s head movements to ensure seamless integration of the virtual and real worlds. You’ll see energy balls flying around the map as well as player shields.

The AR headset has a special user interface. It displays the game clock, the opponent’s life cells, which you need to aim at, your energy and shield gauge, and your own life cells. 

Wrist sensors are wearable devices that players attach to their wrists. These sensors play a vital role in tracking the movement of players’ arms and hands during the game. The sensors capture gestures, allowing players to throw virtual energy balls, perform defensive maneuvers, and interact with the augmented reality environment.

Using the wrist sensor players can customize their skills. For example, they increase their bullet speed and shield strength. However, they only have certain points to deploy, so they need to choose wisely. You don’t want to have lightning-quick bullets but a flimsy shield!  

HADO Goes Professional

Since debuting in 2014 in Japan, HADO’s popularity has skyrocketed. It didn’t take long for young, tech-savvy Japanese esports enthusiasts to embrace the sport. However, now the sport has gone truly global, with events taking place in Europe, Oceania, North America, and, of course, Asia. HADO centers continue to spring up. The latest one was recently unveiled in Taiwan and features two courts and the latest AR headsets. 

The most recent HADO World Cup, which was held in Japan in October 2023, was a smash hit and represents an important step for the sport as it pushes towards full professionalism. The event featured teams from around the world, including Japan, England, China, Turkey, South Korea, Greece, France, and New Zealand. 

It was great to see many different countries take part. There were some really competitive and exciting matches, including Japan beating China in the final seconds and England getting the better of the French. You definitely should go back and watch some of them on YouTube. Unsurprisingly, the pre-tournament favorite, Japan, won the title and took home a $10,000 prize!

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Tennis Esports Holiday Cup 2023/24: What You Need to Know

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The tennis Esports tournament is developed and supported by VR motion learning which has real-time body motion tracking, real-time data analysis, biomechanical modeling, computer vision and Mocap data analysis, and many more features. Based on a scientifically proven approach augmented with the Motion Learning Library and VR Motion Learning Methodology players will learn to move their body in a more efficient and focused way than ever possible in traditional training. They bring accessible prices and a useful technical setup for real-time motion learning technologies from the lab to the consumer market. This makes it possible for them to create realistic ball and racket physics in real-time and tennis esports games, enabling players to engage in practice sessions and matches online just like they would on a real court.

As we speak, the exhilarating holiday cup playoffs are taking place from December 25, 2023, to January 14, 2024.

Participants can earn tournament points through two thrilling game modes:

  • Hit’emAll Holiday Cup 
  • Instant Match Holiday Cup

Hit’Em

Hit’Em All stands out as a solo-player, arcade-style hit-the-target game. Scores will be showcased on a single leaderboard that remains unchanged.

Instant Match

Instant Match offers an online multiplayer experience with a 10-point tiebreak set. Be aware that the Instant Match leaderboard undergoes a weekly reset every Monday. What is an Instant Match?

Instant Match serves as a convenient feature within the Tennis Esports App by which toggling the switch located in the top right corner of the screen, players can activate Instant Match. This action initiates an automatic search for an opponent who has also activated Instant Match, creating an instantaneous match for you, and both players must have this activated in order to play.

The cumulative tournament points earned by players will determine their ranking on the Holiday Cup leaderboard.

Rules

Points are awarded to both the winner and loser of a match. Winning gets you 3 points while a loss is 1 point. Custom matches come pre-set in a 10-point tiebreaker format. To secure victory, you need to accumulate a minimum of 10 points and maintain a lead of at least 2 points over your opponent. The app will notify you when the match reaches completion are results are automatically linked to the app.

The organization has their own discord server which is the best way to navigate through the space. You can find players to play with in 3 ways. See the list of players in the server, search for specific players, and search the leaderboard to beat the top players. The good thing about discord is they have a bot which automatically convert time to your opponents timezone so both of you are certain you’re playing at the right time. 

There is also a strike system in order to maintain a professional format, ensure legitimacy, and provide an overall trustworthy and fair experience for all players. Not showing up to an agreed upon match results in 1 strike. Quitting a match before the end will also result in 1 strike. The most severe punishment is for those falsifying a result, which gives a 3 strike penalty. If a player receives 3 strikes, they will penalized 25% of their total points. A player receiving 4 strikes will be disqualified from the tournament. 

Finals

Gear up for the grand finale on January 20-21, 2024. The top 4 players from the tournament leaderboard as of January 14 will earn a coveted spot in the finals.

No pre-registration is required! All you need is access to Meta Quest 2/3 or Meta Quest Pro.

For Hit’EmAll, your rank on January 14th will determine the tournament points assigned to each player.

In the case of Instant Match, there will be three weekly leaderboards. Your best rank on one weekly leaderboard will contribute to your tournament points, and the final weekly leaderboard will be decisive.

To ensure fairness, the previous week’s winners will not participate in subsequent weekly leaderboards, setting the stage for an intense Hit’Em All showdown to determine the ultimate Top 4!

If you’re wondering about the virtual finals:

The top 4 players will advance to compete in an elimination bracket finals, promising an electrifying virtual gaming experience.

With about 2 weeks of the action already passed, we have some players that are looking good at the top of the table. Currently in 1st with 265 points Gebu75 from Germany. Placing 1st at Instant Match, and 2nd at Hit’em All, and the Tennis Esports Tour, gebu looks to provide strong competition.

Only 5 points behind Gebu, Chewypiano22 from Canada, does not have the established record like some other competitors. Despite the inexperience, Chewy is holding 2nd place well and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

With only 10 points between 1st and 3rd place, the competition is close and it’s still too early to decide the winner. 3rd place Crocodileous from America and 4th place Catt84 from England. Having an already established record, Catt placed 1st in the Tennis Esports Tour, Wilson Virtual Championship, and Virtual Reality Tournament Tennis Canada. They have also placed 2nd and 3rd in competitions like the Erste Bank Virtual Open, Holiday Cup, Tennis Esports Elo Rating, and more.

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Beyond Reality: The Spectacle of Skill in VR Gaming League Championships

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Virtual Reality Gaming

Virtual Reality(VR) gaming leagues represent the next frontier in the world of competitive gaming, offering an immersive and technologically advanced experience for both players and spectators. In these leagues, participants use VR headsets and motion-tracking equipment to engage with digital environments, adding a new layer of realism and excitement to the gaming experience.

The Rise of VR Gaming Leagues

The rise of VR gaming leagues is closely tied to rapid advancements in VR technology. VR headsets, motion controllers, and haptic feedback systems have improved significantly, providing gamers with a more immersive and realistic experience. VR gaming leagues cover a diverse range of game genres, from first-person shooters to sports simulations and puzzle games. This diversity caters to a wide audience, attracting gamers with different preferences and skills. As the popularity of VR gaming grows, so does the number of global competitions and leagues. With the introduction of more VR games and increasing popularity, some VR gaming leagues have already started to collaborate with traditional esports organizations, creating hybrid events that feature both VR and non-VR titles. This collaboration aims to bridge the gap between the two gaming worlds and attract a broader audience.

VR Master League (VRML)

One prominent VR gaming league that gained attention is the VR Master League(VRML), which focuses on competitive VR esports. VRML supports a variety of VR games, including popular titles like Echo VR, Onward, Pavlov VR, and others.

VRML caters to a variety of VR games, ensuring a diverse range of experiences for participants and spectators. Each game presents unique challenges and gameplay styles, contributing to the league’s appeal.

VRML places a strong emphasis on community engagement. The league provides a platform for players to connect, share experiences, and participate in organized competitions. Community-driven events and initiatives contribute to the growth and vibrancy of the VR gaming community.

The league organizes structured tournaments and seasons for different VR games. This includes regular seasons, playoffs, and championship events. The structured format house, maintains a competitive environment and fosters a sense of progression for participants.

At the moment, there are no tournaments ongoing, however, they do have several seasons open available for a cash prize. The games Breacher, Tennis Pavlov, and Onward are the most recent seasons. 

Innovation

Dedicated VR esports arenas are emerging, providing a physical space for players to compete in VR tournaments. These arenas are equipped with state-of-the-art VR setups, allowing players to showcase their skills in a professional environment. These areas can also add 4D effects to the gameplay. 4D is the addition of synchronized physical effects that make the player “feel” the game. Jumping in the water in game could spray a mist on the player, a tornado in game could blow a fan at you, or even being close to a sun would increase the temperature.

Game developers are continuously pushing the boundaries of VR game design for competitive play. Titles with unique mechanics that fully leverage the immersive nature of VR are gaining attention, adding an extra layer of strategy and skill to the competitions.

Some VR gaming leagues are exploring the intersection of gaming and fitness. VR titles that involve physical movement and exercise have given rise to fitness-focused VR gaming competitions, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle among participants. Boxing, MMA, or basketball games can perfectly mimic the sporting environment, without the negative consequences of the sport.

Major sponsors and investors are recognizing the potential of VR gaming leagues. This influx of support has led to larger prize pools, better production values for events, and increased opportunities for professional and amateur VR players to make a career in competitive gaming.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the rise of VR gaming leagues represents a thrilling evolution in the Machina Sports landscape. With ongoing technological advancements, increasing community engagement, and innovative game designs, VR gaming leagues are poised to become a significant and integral part of the global esports ecosystem. Keep an eye on this space for further developments and the emergence of new and exciting VR gaming experiences.

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