Arcadia Interactive Sport

by Anastasia Deripaska

Arcadia Goes Big with Interactive Sports Stadium Experience

By now we have all witnessed the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences where you strap on a headset and get transported to an interactive realm where you can run, jump, and live life other than your own.Arcadia, an ambitious new company, has announced a six-city North American tour known as the Arcadia Trials where it will combine a real-life physical environment with virtual reality obstacle courses and interactive games for a host of competitors looking to become the first Arcadia Champion.

Raise Your Hand If You Saw Tron

If you saw the cult classic film Tron way back in 1982, or its less-popular but infinitely cooler scored sequel Tron:Legacy in 2010, the look of Arcadia’s first YouTube video will spark some serious nostalgia in you. First conceived in March 2019, Arcadia hails both Tron and Ready Player One among its inspirations for combining real-life sporting competitions with new VR technology to create a cross-reality (XR) environment where athletes really run, jump, and dodge obstacles guided by their immersive headsets. The sets allow fans at home to watch the players compete on the Helio Cam broadcast system that lets them go straight into the action on their smartphone, television, computer, or any other Internet-capable device.Arcadia is led by a quartet of co-founders - Chris Olimpo, Jeremy Sholzberg, Eric Johnson, and Guillaume Cote. Company CEO Cote is an award-winning creative director and producer notable for his role as the VR director of the Mummy VR: Zero Gravity Stunt with Tom Cruise at Universal Studios and VR director of Fifty Shades Darker VR: The Masquerade Ball. Cote was previously the creative director of Montreal’s 5th Wall Agency.

The trials, which have a bit of a Hunger Games feel to them - minus the nonstop killing - haven’t begun yet, but they already have a corporate partnership with the Summer 2021 movie Space Jam: A New Legacy starring NBA superstar LeBron James. The technology turns the arena into a dazzling neon-lit basketball arena with hoops, buzzers, lights, and noises. Players get points by making the ball into the hoop, just like in real basketball, with added bonuses for a host of drunks, trick shots, and other in-the-moment feats.“Our athletes can run, jump, dodge each other, and even tackle each other if they want to. You don’t have to use joysticks to move around,” said Chris Olimpo, Co-founder & CEO of Arcadia, in the official launch video. “You just use your body because that’s the most natural and best controller you could ever use in your life. We also built our own proprietary camera system that allows you, the audience, to see exactly what they’re playing in the game. These games take inspiration from classic arcades and the modern sports that we love today. They’re simple to understand, but they’re incredibly hard to master. We built all these great games and we had to find our first playtesters. We got over a thousand sign-ups from college students and selected the top 12 to be our first ‘Alpha 12 Test’ team. Watching our first Arcadia athletes run at full speed and compete in these games was wild.