Valeria Ampolskaya on the magic of Beat Saber and the future of VR

On the eve of the competition in Kazan Valeria Ampolskaya, a participant of Beat Saber event, spoke about her favorite hobby which grew into something bigger

— How did it all begin – that passion of yours for esports?

— It all began with the second part of The Witcher. I was looking for a game where one can run around a medieval castle. So I ran into this game, I got carried away and then I began playing MMORPG and Dota 2 with friends. And then we began to watch together The International, to discuss matches and streamers.

— Why do you think the public opinion is still criticizing esports?

— Because of narrowmindedness. Somebody said that “computer games lead only to degradation”, so people with bad critical thinking picked up on it and don’t want to change their opinion. There are no such people in my entourage now.

— You have your Telegram-channel where you write about VR, why did you get interested in this topic and how do you see the VR-industry in Russia 10 years from now?

— I always dreamed of working in the field of videogames, even though I have a degree in chemical engineering. So they offered me a job in virtual reality. In fact, these are related fields and even cooler. As to the future, I see it like this: everyone has a VR headset at home and it is used as an addition to work/leisure.

— How did you develop a passion for Beat Saber?

— I got an invite to play in a VR-club free of charge. I was a student back then, so I decided to give it a shot – since it was a freebee, why not? They were launching for me all the games in a row, and when it was the turn of Beat Saber I stopped and got hooked on it for a couple of hours. And when I worked as an operator in a club, I would take advantage of my breaks to play.

— How do your friends react to this hobby?

— They are quite positive about it, they have a keen interest in what I am doing. They are proud of me as I found my favorite job-hobby. Actually, they enjoy playing games at my place or in a VR-club.

— How would you describe Beat Saber to people not familiar with the game? How do you tell them what it is all about, why you play, and, most importantly, why everyone should try it?

— It is one of the most popular games in virtual reality. Even those who have never played it must have seen it at least. You need to slash with two laser swords cubes of the right color and in a specific direction to the beat of the soundtrack. Sometimes a player must physically dodge walls and bombs. The game seems easy, but you just have to try it once to fall in love with the process.

— How would you describe the international Beat Saber community and the Russian one? Can you compare them, please? What do you call yourselves?

— The communities are friendly, both the Russian and the foreign one. We call ourselves “VR-people” or “VR-enthusiasts”.

— Are you going to participate in the Phygital Games in Kazan where this discipline is represented? And what do you think about the phygital format of the Games of Future?

— It’s very cool that Russia is embracing VR-sport! I really hope that we will reach the size of the budgets of Valve or Riot Games, that our people will be cheering for their favorite player or favorite team on a big arena or via stream and will also make bets and discuss the skills of esportsmen.

— You are the only girl in the male company of players participating in the Beat Saber tournament. Is it just a coincidence or there is a male dominance in Beat Saber, too?

— Of all the girls I know I am the only one who plays Beat Saber well. But I do see foreign girls VR-bloggers, they play much better than me. I am confident that there are many girls in Russia who excel at Beat Saber on E+. But, yes, unfortunately both in VR-games and conventional games male players dominate.

— What disciplines would you like to watch at the Games of Future?

— I would love to watch Pavlov VR. It is an analogue of CS:GO in VR. Alternatively, I’d like to watch Onward, they used to organize tournaments in this game abroad. But it is a hard corn one, so I don’t particularly like it. Pistol Whip, Blaston are also a good choice for esports. One could also include in the Games of Future program speedruns from the Superhot game – i.e. who will be faster in passing levels. When autonomous headsets will become more productive and versatile, I would very much want to get a content with free movement like it was the case in Belgorod at the Russian national championship in computer games.

— You’ve been to Belgorod where the team from club squared off with the spectators in a show-match, so would you like to participate, to play on the same team with renowned esportsmen?

— I’d rather watch than participate. I am no good at shooters.

— If you were to meet one on one the creator of the game Oculus, what would you ask him?

— Why didn’t you introduce alternative methods to pay apps on your platform, like Valve corporation did? Where is the much too promised GTA in VR?

— Who are the legends in the world of Beat Saber you follow closely? And with whom do you think it would be cool to clash at a tournament or, at least, who is worth watching in social media?

— I keep receiving offers of Shorts from LSToast on YouTube, this Logan youtuber is passing through to the sound of some really wild soundtracks. I have a similar wild man in my circle, a VR-club operator, he is an obscenely good gamer. So I want the same reaction (laughter).