On Saturday, May 21, the solemn opening of the Russian Esports Championship was held at the modern Belgorod-Arena. The cherry on the cake for the spectators was the show-match with the participants of two players from Virtus.pro. They chose from the audience two people for their team to compete in phygital format.
“It is the best game I played over the last 10 years”, – said Dmitry DM Dorokhin, climbing on stage after his team won the show–match against his team-mate Daniyal Yamich Lazebny with a two-point difference.
Phygital (from the English physical + digital) is a combination of classic and digital sport, a new concept which unites everything the modern world loves so much. The Games of Future are a competition in hybrid disciplines to be held in Russia in 2024.
Igor Stoliarov, founder of the international sport project Games of Future: “The Esports Federation held a great Russian Championship from all points of view – in terms of organization, content and emotions. For us the first joint tests with the Esports Federation were held within this tournament, we showed to the public the principle of phygital which serves as a basis for the sports program of the Games of Future. Professional players from the team Virtus.pro along with the spectators they selected played the Dota 2 and then clashed in a VR-match – this is what phygital is all about, a combination of digital and phygital spaces within the framework of competition. For us it is a brand new sport product, and we are glad that the audience was cheering and the players got interested – it means they came to like to principle of phygital. We will develop this concept further in order to present it successfully at the inaugural Games of Future to be held in Russia in 2024”.
The Virtus.pro players are the first esportsmen who agreed to test themselves in the phygital discipline – Dota 2 + VR. First, the teams were competing in the habitual universe of computer games, and then they got off stage arming themselves with special VR-glasses and joysticks to measure their strength in a digital discipline where one needs not only to build a team strategy but also to be physically fit. Spectators could watch what the players see in their glasses and follow their movements at the stadium – quite an unusual combination.
If in the Dota 2 the team DM virtually routed their opponents 65-7, the “yamichi” proved stronger in VR – 137-81, as a result just a two points edge on aggregate brought victory to the team of Dmitry Dorokhin, 146-144. The 18-year old Nikita Crush Polshin from the town of Stroitel whose group of support made the match more colorful was the star of the show.
Yet not only the lucky ones who were included in the team to join their skillful tutors from Virtus.pro were able to test digital disciplines and VR. For there is a real phygital island in the spectators’ area where anyone could familiarize oneself with car simulators, VR-game and Beat Saber. So, the spectators tempted by digital magic were keen to try something new and immerse in the universe Games of Future.
A contest in the discipline Beat Saber among the fans was held during the first two days of the tournament with Alexey Sheyfel and Alexandra Verst. Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game where you slash with imaginable sabers cubes to the beat of music from a certain side of the figure. The finals were played till three wins with Alexey showing the best accuracy and plasticity. As he confessed, he “was preparing at home”. The commentators gave him the nickname “surgeon” for his skills as he won 2-1 to grab the main trophy of the virtual saber fencers tournament.