When you think about video games and sports, chances are the first thing that pops into your head is the FIFA series. We’ve played our share of FIFA and let us tell you something: while it makes for a tense experience, the only sweat you’re going to break is when an opponent’s free kick hits the cross bar at full speed.
No chance of that happening when you play Ballistic, a new VR sport developed by our proud member Triangle Factory in cooperation with The Park Playground and Sportwerk Vlaanderen. Played on an area the size of a racket ball terrain, Ballistic is a combination between beach volley and padel. Two teams of two players hit the ball back and forth trying to score a goal. Just like padel, you can bounce the ball off the walls, making it harder for your opponent to return it.
In an interview with Data News (link in Dutch), Triangle Factory producer Jeroen Dessaux explains that the rules of Ballistic had to be simple enough to be understood by a wide audience. At the same time it had to have elements that are unique to virtual reality. You can break the back wall of the playing field to score a goal, for instance. Ballistic was developed with the Oculus Quest 2 in mind, which allows the players a lot of movement freedom.
“When you’re still learning how to hit the ball, it’s a pretty stationary experience. But as soon as you get better at it, you’ll bounce all over the court and really work up a sweat”, says Arne Cosyns of Sportwerk Vlaanderen. He’s one of the athletes that demonstrated the sport during the latest Sports Innovation Congress in Ghent, destroying Flemish Minister of Sports Ben Weyts 16-2 in the progress.
Currently, you can play Ballistic in Ghent, but there’s a plan to roll out the game internationally. All you need to play is two headsets, enough space, and a decent WiFi connection. Your opponents can be either on a playing field opposing yours, or halfway around the world. The goal of Sport Vlaanderen, who invested € 200 000 into the project, is to develop new ways to get people moving. Just like EXR, Ballistic is another success story resulting from the same funding call back in 2019.