Team Estonia – Peeter Nieler, Sander Zoova and Jürgen Kivestu — won last week the world’s first virtual reality eSports championships in China at World Virtual Reality Arena 2015 event.

Team Estonia – Peeter Nieler, Sander Zoova and Jürgen Kivestu — won last week the world’s first virtual reality eSports championships in China at World Virtual Reality Arena 2015 event.

The 100 teams played Virtual Warfare, a first-person shooter game. In the final Team Estonia beat local Team Shanghai 3-0.

We caught up with Peeter Nieler, CEO of VR firm Criffin, on his way back from China.

Organisers invited 100 teams, 6 foreign teams – how did you get an invite?

It’s really a classic “one thing leads to another” story. Being a pre-Oculus era VR R&D company founder I was speaking in spring at Unity conference in Beijing about Virtual Reality. And as we also had a demo booth I met their representative and we kept in touch. Suddenly they contacted me with an offer to participate. I agreed instantly – history is being made and I had the opportunity to be part of it!

I assembled a team by involving our UX tester Sander Zoova who happens to be a passionate gamer. He brought his friend on board, we received equipment and started to test it. Later they also offered me the honor to say some opening words and be present at the opening moment on stage with some Chinese gaming related industry tycoons, which was again, a great honor.

How would you describe the atmosphere in the hall during the competition?

WVA2015 happened in a convention center at exhibition oriented to VR and anime (cosplayers) in the size of Arctic15 I guess. It was strongly press and industry oriented, the stage was surrounded by a sea of cameras. Knowing the level of business network present and that the host and some performers were nationwide stars, it was surely an important event in China.

So is VR perfect for gaming? For eSports?

People push the industry. In given situation it’s Allen Lee who against all odds (technology had to be combined, hacked together) made it happen. I think VR eSports will take off and rather sooner than later as it is way more entertaining to watch. Gaming as such will take off, but not in similar storm to apprush – the medium is visually way more demanding than mobile, and industry lacks experienced developers for the sudden leap. But the rise will be steady, especially since big players are leading the way.

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