Oculus and ESL Team Up for VR League: Season 2

MENLO PARK, CA —Last year, Oculus helped launch the world’s first VR esports league, including the first ever Echo Arena North American Regionals at OC4 and a global livestream of the Finals from IEM Katowice. Oculus announced this week a brand-new look and expanded lineup for VR League—and the kick-off of Season 2 with ESL!

VR League Season 2 features a prize pool in excess of $220,000 USD, a more flexible tournament system, and up to seven participating titles in the five-month competitive period—all leading up to the climactic grand finale at Oculus Connect 5!

Oculus hit the ground running on May 18, with a month of competitive urban spell-casting in The Unspoken, followed by a month of fast-paced parkour racing in Sprint Vector beginning June 4.  An additional two titles with prized competition will be unveiled on ESL Play during the months of July and August, plus additional action as three new games make their first foray into esports.

Echo Arena returns on May 20 with the start of a four-week competition. Last year, this fast-paced zero-g title brought out 258 players across 98 teams worldwide, and we’re excited to build upon that initial success as we continue to grow the community. Later this year, we’ll partner with Ready At Dawn to bring Echo Combat to VR League with a ladder-style competition of its own.

“Oculus is committed to fostering long-term growth of the VR esports ecosystem, and Season 2—with its new format and additional games—is an amazing next step on this exciting journey,” says Oculus Head of Esports, Christopher K. McKelvy.

To that end, VR League will also support VR Master League and the grassroots community that’s developed around Dante Buckley’s mil-sim success story with an Onward Invitational event from June 16 – 17. One of three live events to be held at the ESL UK Studios, the Onward Invitational will also benefit Stack Up, a charity that supports US and Allied veterans through gaming.

VR esports represent an exciting and promising area of growth for both the VR industry and the community it supports, and we’re proud to partner with ESL to help change the game. Visit vr.eslgaming.com for more information, and follow VR League on Facebook and Twitter  for regular updates.

Source and photos — The Oculus Team

 


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The Hidden Figure$ of Gaming, Data Processing, and Code

SILICON VALLEY, CA—An early computer hobbyist’s club in Southern California has some pretty heady history behind it. You’d be hard pressed to match the geek cred of some of its members — Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example — and Jerry Lawson.

jerry-lawon_game-cartridge-creatorThe late Gerald Anderson Lawson (above), known as Jerry, along with Ron Jones, were the only two members of color of the Homebrew Computer Club in Silicon Valley.

The club began in 1975, the same year National BDPA was founded,  when hobbyists, most with an electronic engineering or computer programming background, met to talk about the Altair 8800 and to exchange schematics and programming tips. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born electronic engineer, taught himself everything he knew about designing. His impressive creation of the Fairchild Channel F video game console separated him from contemporaries such as Nolan Bushnell and Ralph Baer.

The Fairchild Channel F console was released by Fairchild Semiconductor in November 1976 and was the first programmable ROM cartridge-based video game console, as well as the first console to use a microprocessor. Baer wrote the code for the first video game played on a TV set, called Chase, and in 1972 Bushnell helped create the video game Pong and later that year started Atari Computers.

But it was Lawson’s main distinction as the inventor of the video game cartridge, something that seems simple now, that established our new  standard for how video games were played into the next three decades.

marc-hannahChicago native Marc Regis Hannah (left) is a co-founder of Silicon Graphics (SGI) and is partly responsible for the direction of computer graphics since the company’s 1982 founding in Mountain View, CA. SGI partnered with Nintendo to create the early architecture of the Nintendo 64 gaming system. SGI, in essence, placed the power of a $5,000+ SGI Indy workstation into a $250 toy.  SGI’s technologies were used to design cars, aircraft, and  virtual simulation training for the Defense Department.

sgi-indySGI’s high-powered workstations were responsible for “computerized” films, such as “Mars Attacks!” and “Jurassic Park”.  Hannah’s 16 years at SGI made him a special effects whiz.  Hannah also is the recipient of 13 patents and numerous awards and honors, including the Professional Achievement Award from both Illinois Institute of Technology and the National Technical Association (NTA).

— Sources: Kevin L. Clark, techtimes.com
Photo credits: Estate of Jerry Lawson,
Black American History, and SGI

 

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