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Meta Gives First Look at NFL Pro Era, a VR Game That Lets You Play as Quarterback

"Pre-alpha" development footage shows a setup that lets gamers choose plays and mimic throwing the ball. The game is set to arrive in the fall.

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Most sports video games give you a bird's-eye view. This time, StatusPRO hopes you'll feel what it's like to be on the field.
StatusPRO

The developer behind the first NFL-licensed virtual reality game gave on Wednesday a first look at its upcoming annualized title, NFL Pro Era, which is set to arrive in the fall. The game is designed to provide a first-person experience, letting fans play while looking the eyes of characters on the field.

The game will include each of the 32 NFL teams, with players huddling with AI-powered teammates, choosing plays, throwing passes, and running down the field.

"Not a lot of people have been in the middle of a stadium or heard the crowds or the coach in your ear and hearing your teammates chatter," said Troy Jones, co-founder and head of StatusPRO, in an interview before the announcement.

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Though NFL Pro Era won't have detailed re-creations of players, its developers say they're striving for an "authentic" experience.

StatusPRO

NFL Pro Era is scheduled to be released on Meta's Quest headset and Sony's PlayStation VR, though the company declined to say how much it'll cost.

The game offers an alternative to titles like Madden NFL, one of the most popular and best-selling games in the industry. In Madden, players see the field from above, a point of view that's become so synonymous with the sport that the NFL has moved its on-field cameras in the real game to offer shots mimicking those in the video game.

Jones said StatusPRO's game will offer a different spin, focused on the view from the field. His company has been building augmented reality training simulators for real-life football players. Its app, used by teams including the Baltimore Ravens, taps Microsoft's Hololens headset, which overlays computer information on the real world. In this case, players see digital football players superimposed in front of them as they practice various maneuvers

Jones warned that the first iteration of the game won't have the same fidelity as Madden NFL, such as detailed re-creations of characters or specially recorded voices. That's in part due to technological limitations of virtual reality headsets, he said. Instead, the company is focused on getting gameplay right, offering its quarterback experience as well as a multiplayer option where people can toss a virtual football with friends.

"Our goal is to take advantage of the technology that emerges," he said, adding that the company intends to release continuous updates in reaction to player feedback.