To promote the launch of the HTC Vive this week (our review is on the way), Valve has put up a few montages of different demos and games on the SteamVR page. Most of these excerpts are stuff we’ve already played, but one of them stands out: a glance at what appears to be a VR spectator mode in development for Dota 2.
In the clip, a Vive user watches a professional match with audio commentary on a virtual screen. The screen is flanked by life-sized hero statues corresponding to the players participating in that match. The viewer activates Razor’s statue, then swipes the Vive motion controllers horizontally to summon translucent UI panels that show graphs for ‘Difference in Experience Gained’ and ‘Difference in Team Net Worth,’ which are overlaid above a virtual 3D map. It’s only a quick glance, but enough to give us a sense of what Valve has in mind for Dota 2 in VR. No release date for the spectator mode, if that’s how it will be packaged, is mentioned in the video.
Although a lot of us enjoy watching esports events passively, while we’re doing work or even playing another game, offering functionality not present through Twitch could lure hardcore Dota 2 fans to the VR platform Valve supports. “At first I was like ‘VR will never be implemented in Dota,’ now I want it so bad,” writes one of the higher comments on the Dota 2 subreddit.
A text overlay on the video reads “Look forward to more VR features coming to your favorite games,” a hint perhaps that games like CS:GO (which had more than a million spectators of its most recent major tournament last week in Columbus, OH) could adopt similar VR functionality. Loyal readers of Chris’ Three Lane Highway column will recall his predictions about how VR could make a big impact on Dota 2. Those who attended The International last year were treated to a different kind of a Dota 2 VR experience, a Secret Shop showcase on the Vive.