E3 2017: CCP’s VR sports game Sparc debuts new trailer, summer PSVR launch

First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc is getting the E3 treatment this week, being available for play (and spectating) at the show. Expect it for PSVR later this summer, though it’ll eventually filter to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too.

“Sparc is a skill-based, fast-paced, and physical sport only possible in virtual reality,” says the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online. “In Sparc, players utilize their two PlayStation Move motion controllers to aim and throw projectiles at each other inside a sleek virtual arena, while defending themselves by dodging, blocking, or deflecting incoming attacks from a live opponent. Players can compete against their friends or find challengers via online matchmaking.”

Our own Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest, arguing that “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc.”

Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition,” he wrote in April. “I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

The brand-new E3 trailer is below.

Source: Press release
Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Los Angeles, California, for E3 2017, bringing you expert MMO coverage on The Elder Scrolls Online, Black Desert, and everything else on display at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo!
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13 Comments on "E3 2017: CCP’s VR sports game Sparc debuts new trailer, summer PSVR launch"

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Melissa McDonald

I think CCP is extremely prescient to wade into VR early. As a bit of a VR junkie I can tell you there are hundreds and hundreds of apps and experiences available for me to enjoy, but the majority of them are film-based experiences related to travel, news, sports, entertainment, you-are-there kind of things. The horsepower needed for real VR gaming is only just beginning to emerge, as are games of that nature. Sony’s PSVR is still the best choice if you want VR games, but that is rapidly changing, especially since Microsoft’s partnership with Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and HP and their new visors just beginning to hit the market. Valkyrie is amazing and Gunjack is a lot of fun, and this is only the beginning. I think they are getting their chops down and learning to make games in a new format and it’s going to keep the company going into the future, a future that I firmly believe will be increasingly a VR landscape.

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Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

Would be awesome if it had the Tron Legacy disc wars art style haha

Reader
Melissa McDonald

that’s exactly how it struck me too, discs of Tron.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

What’s interesting is that the first iteration of it did have more of a Tron type visual style and used discs (it was called Disc Arena originally). But the physics for the discs made them act more like spheres, and contextualising them as spheres in Sparc definitely feels more natural.

Reader
Reselect Name

How in the world have these guys stayed in business this long?

Are the original creators of EVE even at the company anymore?

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

There are only a handful of developers left from EVE’s early years, and I think only Hilmar is around from the very beginning. EVE’s subs have largely tracked the total trend for the subscription MMO market over the years, and in recent years that trend has been downward as games continue to roll out F2P, B2P, and hybrid business models. Hilmar made a strategic decision years ago to diversify CCP into a multiple-product company because having all your eggs in one basket is a terrible idea, and the results have been mixed.

DUST 514 completely flopped and World of Darkness never really got out of the tech prototyping stage, and they have had to downsize at times when plans didn’t work out. But Valkyrie has been a big success and Gunjack and Gunjack 2 have done well, early on they even secured 30 million in outside investment specifically for VR. The company posted record profits last year, due in no small part to the new VR game focus (despite the heavy focus on VR games). The newest direction they’re taking is to create a team that works on cutting-edge experimental technologies and then hopefully spin one or more of those projects out into products, similarly to how they spun Valkyrie, Gunjack, and now Sparc out of mini-demos shown at EVE Fanfest.

So I guess to answer your question, CCP has stayed in business this long by taking measured risks. DUST 514 was a huge gamble that didn’t pay off, many publishers probably wouldn’t have taken the risk but CCP wasn’t necessarily wrong to make that gamble. Pushing into VR early with an ostensibly AAA-production game like Valkyrie was an equally huge gamble that most publishers didn’t want to make, but this time it did pay off. In the next ten years, I’d predict more of CCP’s earnings will come from ancillary projects and less from EVE. How much of that will be VR will depend on how the VR market does in the long term. Personally, I’d love to see more EVE IP games in more genres.

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Sally Bowls

The company posted record profits last year, due in no small part to the new VR game focus

Isn’t it the opposite true: due in no part to the new VR focus. VR seems like it is working out well for them. I am not criticizing the VR push. You invest in new games & market segments for future profits, but they cost in the short run. CCP would have been a less valuable but slightly more profitable company without VR.

Sept ’16: The market for virtual reality games is still too young to return significant profits, but CCP Games believes it is on the “path to break even”

VR just has not been out long enough to be generating net profits. I think everyone thought the skill injectors and WWB were their reason for the record profits.

Brendan Drain
Staff
Brendan Drain

Isn’t it the opposite true: due in no part to the new VR focus. CCP would have been a less valuable but slightly more profitable company without VR.

I think you’re actually right on this one, in the short term they might have been slightly more profitable without doing VR but in the long term it’s worth it (and worth more than just the revenue). CCP doesn’t exactly publish fine details on its financial reports, but the latest one became available in April and MarketsForISK drilled down into it in an attempt to answer this very question:
https://marketsforisk.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/ccp-financial-statements-for-2016-review.html

His estimates were that Valkyrie may have had around 20.4m revenue and Gunjack about 3.4m, which fits with their report that they were on track to break even as this is all on the back of a 30m investment in VR. Valkyrie should continue to produce more money over the long term and Gunjack has already been released on multiple platforms and sequelised. So they probably are on track to break even on VR, which is a big deal for a new venture into an unknown market, and they attracted investors for it so they didn’t risk their own money.

The intangible benefits are important to consider too, as CCP has now developed extensive internal capabilities in VR. If you watch the presentations given by the Valkyrie and Sparc devs or talk to them, you can see they’ve learned so much about VR throughout the project (often things that nobody was certain of about VR at all just a year or so ago). As long as those people stay on staff, those capabilities have a real financial value to the company. That’s to say nothing of the value of the engine tech they’ve developed for Valkyrie that might be reusable, and the torso avatar tech for Sparc that works better than any other roomscale VR demo I’ve seen.

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Loyal Patron
Armsbend

*cringe*

Reader
Arktouros

CCP always chasing that timed exclusive or exclusive money. Go eat a dick CCP.

In other news, October is going to be crazy! I can already see how this is going to go. Get a few hours of Fallout 4 VR in. Then take a break and sit down and rest for a while playing Destiny 2 with Black Desert in the background AFK generating income and item progression. Can’t wait!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

Good….. goooooood, let the hate flow through you

Nathaniel Downes
Reader
Nathaniel Downes

Will this game be available on computers running a SPARC processor?

Reader
Sally Bowls

Only under OpenWindows, none of that Motif crap the kids are into today. :-)

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