Could 2021 Be The Year VR Basketball Takes Off?
Test your skills on the pavement with these upcoming VR basketball experiences.
There’s no shortage of quality sports games available on VR headsets at the moment. From ultimate frisbee (Echo Arena) and boxing (Thrill of the Fight, FitXR) to fishing (Real VR Fishing) and golf (TopGolf by Pro Putt, Everybody Golfs VR), fitness fanatics and sports fans should have no difficulty finding an experience catering to their preferred activity. Unless that activity is basketball.
Save for a few decent attempts—such as 2K’s NBA 2KVR Experience—the VR basketball scene has been somewhat quiet over the past couple of years, which isn’t all that surprising considering how difficult throwing objects can be in VR; accurately at least. That being said, things are beginning to look up for headset owners, with several interesting-looking VR basketball experiences set to arrive on Oculus and SteamVR headsets throughout 2021.
Hit the virtual court this year with the following b-ball simulators*:
PICKUP BASKETBALL VR – February 26th on SteamVR
Launching on SteamVR in Early Access later this month, Pickup Basketball VR will have you dunking on hoops, blocking shots, and performing killer layups against other human players throughout a handful of online game modes, including 1v1, 2v2, 3-Point Contest, HORSE, and Free Shoot. You’ll have the option to choose between four unique courts as well as the ability to customize your avatar with a variety of style and clothing options.
An Early Access version of Pickup Basketball VR is set to arrive on SteamVR headsets on February 26th followed by the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 in Q2 of this year.
STREETBALL LEAGUE – TBD
Unlike Pick Up Basketball, upcoming streetball simulator Streetball League is all about racking up style points as you dominate unsuspecting fools on the pavement. Inspired by classic basketball games like NBA Jam, you’ll have the ability to perform tricks in order to earn additional points during each match; the more complex the maneuver, the greater your reward. You can execute various dribbling tricks, embarrass your opponents with epic dunks, even bounce the ball off their heads for maximum showmanship.
Streetball League is expected to launch in Early Access later this year and will feature online multiplayer, training challenges, 6-4 streetball characters, and a free-to-play mode. You’ll have the ability to go head-to-head with AI opponents, including several local legends, across two iconic real-world locations: Venice Beach, LA and Rucker Park, NYC. A full release is currently scheduled for 2022.
GYM CLASS – Available now in Early Access
With support for eight-person online multiplayer, Gym Class is the best option for large groups looking to meet up on the virtual court. You can hop into a variety of public rooms to link up with friends or go head-to-head with random players. According to the app, private rooms are also available for those looking to conduct private games and tournaments, though we’ve yet to try this for ourselves.
While Gym Class may offer a more barebones gameplay experience than Pick Up Basketball or Streetball League, the large public rooms and community-driven approach make this an excellent choice for those seeking casual social experience. Plus it’s available free right now on Oculus Quest/Quest 2 headsets as part of the recently-launched App Lab program.
Feature Image Credit: Revog Games