New virtual reality company iB Cricket has vowed to disrupt the esports market after revealing that the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Majid Al Futtaim could be launch partners in the UAE.
Exhibiting at the Middle East’s biggest technology event, GITEX 2018, iB Cricket showcased what it claims to be the most immersive cricket gaming experience to date.
Using a VR headset and a customised bat, complete with realistic vibrations, players can participate in matches and training drills designed to improve their skill level.
The aim of the game is to move up through iB Cricket’s ‘ratings’ system – which ranks players from 1-100, with 80 and above the equivalent of an international cricketer’s skillset.
Raja Tirumalasetty, VP Sales and Marketing at iB Cricket, believes the product is nothing short of revolutionary and insists the current commercial interest demonstrates as much.
He told Sport Industry Insider: “We are in talks with the ICC as they are looking to potentially use iB Cricket as a fan promotion for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. We are very excited about this and it would be great to get such an endorsement.
“Beyond that, the ICC Academy in Dubai wants to have iB Cricket as an extra amenity for people using their facilities. And we have also seen Majid Al Futtaim show an interest in having the game in their malls is an entertainment side.
“This B2B approach is the first stage of our launch. It will expose people to the product and give them the experience – then if then if they like it they can buy it.”
The atmosphere was buzzing with excitement throughout the event and after. Thanks to all the cricket lovers and the ICC Academy for the memorable day.#iBCricket #ICCAcademy #NewFormatOfCricket #VRCricket pic.twitter.com/qsGcFOJJ1t
— iB Cricket (@playiBCricket) September 9, 2018
Appealing to regular at-home gamers is a key goal of iB Cricket. The initials iB stand for ‘impacting billions’ and the company has lofty ambitions for future development.
The creation of a vsports cricket league is top of the agenda, with Tirumalasetty suggesting that a global tournament could help iB Cricket become a lucrative alternative to esports.
“In the esports ‘League of Legends’ last year they had 50,000 fans sitting and watching in Seoul, South Korea,” he said.
“We plan to have our own fan following, our own stars and our own franchises. And the ecosystem we are creating includes in-game advertising and sponsorship opportunities.
“We want Dubai to be the home of our international tournaments. Players will compete in domestic competitions and then representatives from each nation will fly out to Dubai to compete. We are hoping we can launch this in 2019.”