2 min read

The First Pro VR Sports Athletes

I found this VR company called Sense Arena that has created a module for training tennis in VR. They’ve developed a device that attaches to the Oculus controllers, mimicking the feel and feedback of an actual tennis racket. Tennis players can enter the Sense Arena and train specific shots and situations endlessly.

At the moment, they’re positioning their product as supplemental training to the mental side of sports to help players make better split-second decisions, improve anticipation, and visualize the game better.

Sense Arena reminds me of a company called Win Reality which has created a similar VR training module but for baseball.

It’s only a matter of time before the sports world leans into VR for unlimited training. Just the simple fact that both Sense Arena and Win Reality provide a sports training environment that has no bounds of time or location automatically improves sports training. You don’t have to find a gym, reserve a court, hire a coach, or wait for the right outdoor weather to get your reps in. That’s world-changing for any athlete. Especially those who lack access to the right trainers and equipment.

Overall, I’m interested in knowing how this type of training carries over to the real world. It appears that the hand-eye coordination element improves because of the haptic feedback. But what else will these VR training modules improve?

There’s a chance that the next generation of tennis players will have played more simulated games than real ones. Or baseball players hit more simulated balls than real ones.

If the training truly carries over then these two companies are poised to pioneer the sports training market. At the same time, they may create an entirely new eSports category of simulated sports, which would a new opportunity entirely in itself.

Regardless, the hardware they’ve created is an emerging market.

Oculus Add-Ons

What’s most fascinating to me is how both of these companies developed devices that attach to the existing Oculus controllers to make them feel like actual sports equipment. The swing of the bat and the tennis racket are much more like an actual situation because you’re holding something very similar to a real baseball bat and tennis racket.

In many ways, this reminds me of the market that emerged for Wii controller add-ons:

  • Wii Nunchuk
  • Wii Wheel
  • Wii Balance Board
  • Wii Pistol
  • Wii Crossbow
  • And lots more

In the same way that Wii add-ons expanded the type of Wii games that could be played, there’s an opportunity to create Oculus add-ons that enhance the experience of VR. There will probably be an “Oculus Fit” bundle eventually that comes with a VR baseball bat, tennis racket, soccer ball, etc., which makes sports in VR that much more compelling.

Similarly, in Everydays 17 I covered the $6B opportunity to provide prescription VR lenses. It shows that there is a lot of opportunity to design and sell Oculus-adjacent products.