EVA Champions Arena Innovation with HTC VIVE
EVA's Vision to Revolutionise Esports Worldwide
Location Based Entertainment | Training/Simulation | Case Study
5 minutes read
is a company with big dreams and huge aspirations. With over 27 franchise locations in France alone and a further 40 in development, EVA wants to take the esports market by storm. But it’s not just limited to France, they have global ambitions, beginning in the United States with a plan to expand to 500 arenas, while at the same time conquering the wider European market too.
What began as one man’s dream to play Call of Duty on a football pitch has resulted in the HTC VIVE team combining their passion for video games with an IRL (in real life) activity. Having found nothing like this they decided to bring it into existence themselves. And as a result, EVA is the leading platform for free-roaming VR esports and has the biggest arenas in size.
Partnering with HTC VIVE
With this expansive vision, EVA needed a partner that could match it; a technical powerhouse that would deliver the hardware and expertise to make the dream a reality. EVA then met HTC VIVE and the partnership could not have got off to a better start.
The launching of their Focus 3 headset timed perfectly with EVA’s need to find Virtual Reality (VR) hardware that would enable them to leave behind legacy solutions, with all its limitations, and expand quickly without worrying about technical problems. “ Thanks to our collaboration with HTC VIVE, we developed specific calibration routines for EVA allowing us to quickly install new locations and get our product quicker to the market ” says Jean Mariotte, CEO and EVA co-founder.
Overcoming technical challenges
The main challenges they faced were increasing the image quality and framerate, upgrading the overall comfort of playing with a VR headset, and most importantly, removing the need for heavy and cumbersome PC backpacks that are all too common in VR esports. The fact that VIVE is the leading manufacturer of Location Based Experiences (LBE) hardware and software made them an obvious partner. The VIVE Focus 3 ticked every single box and, overnight, enabled them to significantly up the quality of their deliverable, and reduce the complexity of their VR setup.
The importance of removing the PC backpack is not to be underestimated. EVA’s users began feeling a new freedom to move around the space and EVA were no longer limited by the range of movements that an average person could achieve with the backpack on. Marriotte explains further,
“The Vive Focus 3 has allowed us to cut the cord and play wirelessly through the magic of Wifi 6E by streaming the game from a PC. Since upgrading our venues to the new hardware, we were able to accelerate the development of our games and upgrade graphics and framerate. 100% of our players that tried the HTC VIVE Focus 3 don’t want to go back to previous hardware.”
As well as the improved gameplay for the players, it has also meant less hardware for EVA to maintain, significantly reducing problems and downtime with the kit. When expanding so quickly, minimising these types of issues is of paramount importance.
A better experience for all
Improvements that the Focus 3 delivered for EVA was reduced lag, high bandwidth for streaming and a minimised network interference. This is all made possible through the new WiFi 6E generation which the Focus 3 supports. This has given the players a much more pleasing and reliable experience, something that is hugely important to EVA.
Alongside the hardware, EVA also had the luxury of being able to directly interact with HTC VIVE’s engineers to share knowledge and improve even further the product for large-scale use at their arenas. It wasn’t therefore the case that EVA just ordered a load of the Focus 3 headsets and then went about integrating them into their solution. Instead, they benefited from a company that would come alongside them, and support them with their vast amount of technical expertise.
EVA’s expansion hasn’t been without its challenges though. One of the inherent difficulties of esports is the danger of players colliding during game play. Players want to play with confidence that they can move freely through the space without worrying if they’re going to collide with another player. EVA overcame this problem by developing an in-house algorithm to ensure that all the headsets on the pitch synchronised with each other to ensure constant positioning of each participant in real time. As a result, EVA has developed a concept that has never been seen before.
Upgrading guns and games
EVA are also in the process of improving their LBE’s by launching an upgraded version of the guns used by their players and integrating HTC VIVE trackers for better cost efficiency and user experience. They are also looking at adding haptic feedback on the guns and through haptic vests. Every technological development made by HTC VIVE gives EVA the opportunity to further improve their services.
Alongside developing great physical experiences, EVA is equally passionate about expanding their catalogue of games. One unique way they go about this is by regularly offering game prototypes to the community on a temporary basis to get feedback on the concept and playability. They prize this feedback incredibly highly and know how crucial it is to enable them to meet the players’ needs as closely as possible.
At this point in time, they are actively testing three new ideas with all concepts 100% under wraps. All that can be said is that the new concept won’t be a shooter and will be accessible to the general public. This desire for evolution and game development demonstrates their focus on staying ahead of the competition and continuing to create games and experiences that have a strong competitive element right at the heart of everything they do.
A bright future
EVA is doing something truly special in the area of esports; attempting to and succeeding in enabling people to get physically active while playing games together. This is a far cry from a lone gamer sitting at home in their gaming chair. EVA is continuing to organise large scale tournaments and even aims to be at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. There’s that big vision again.
Let’s give Mariotte, one of the visionaries behind it all, the final word: “ Through our global footprint of arenas, EVA strives to shape the future of sports and esports. We want to bring our locations to all and continue organising large esports tournaments worldwide. Finally, through our mobile arena, we aim to one day fill stadiums with fans coming to support their favourite teams like they already do in other established sports. ”