As you might know, after the successful completion of the VR League in 2017, ESL, Intel and Oculus teamed up again to bring the tournament back this year with more games and an attractive prize pool. The competition launched two months ago and has been going strong, with competitors giving their all in games like Echo Arena, Onward, Sprint Vector, and The Unspoken. However, after weeks of competing for the finals, which are set to be held at Oculus Connect 5 this year, competitors for The Unspoken VR League tournament were simply told that the competition is ending abruptly through an announcement on Discord (pictured below).
The announcement, which was posted on the Discord server on July 4th, simply stated that the tournament finals won’t be going to Oculus Connect 5. Implicating that the Unspoken tournament has been canceled after running bracketed battles for seven weeks, with no explanation. Understandably, ESL players were more than a little miffed at this, after taking time to compete in the tournament with the promise of a cash prize being up for grabs.
The issue was worsened by the lack of communication from ESL and the VR League team who failed to provide any reasoning for the sudden cancelation. As can be seen below, the wording for the VRL The Unspoken Cup on the ESL website mentions that players can compete to earn points and share in the prize pool for each week. However, thanks to screenshots taken and saved on the image sharing website, Imgur, we get to see that the wording on the website used to say that players can compete to earn points to qualify for the World Qualifier Bracket. It then went on to say that the “Top 2 Players of each region from the World Qualifier Bracket will advance to OC5”.
Unfortunately, we can’t seem to find the specific page referenced in these images on the ESL website. However, should these images prove true, and they certainly look like they fit with the rest of The Unspoken page on the ESL website’s aesthetic, then this indicates a level of disingenuous on the eSports organizer’s part. But it didn’t take too long for a representative of the company to take to Reddit to explain the reasoning behind the decision, citing a lack of player interest in The Unspoken being the culprit. He or she then went on to say that due to the feedback they received from incited players, the original plan is back on. So it seems that, despite the hiccup, we’ll still be seeing The Unspoken at the OC 5 finale this year.
“While The Unspoken has seen a decline in signups, we were wrong to believe this warranted a lack of interest in the Grand Final. We’re thrilled to see the passionate community surrounding The Unspoken so eager to prove themselves in front of an audience at Oculus Connect 5—both Oculus and ESL are happy to oblige. After discussing with Oculus, we will keep the original plan: the top four players from The Unspoken will be invited to Oculus Connect 5, provided travel, and will compete for a share of the overall VR League prize pool.
We are still fine tuning the plans for Oculus Connect 5 and more information will be released in the coming weeks—stay tuned.”
This is undoubtedly good news for those who are competing in the tournament. But what happened here still raises some valid questions around how well ESL is communicating with their players and the gaming community as a whole. Not to mention the implication in mentioning the lack of interested players in an official eSports VR game. Some have taken to social media to mention Oculus’ exclusive wall as being responsible, while other simply think that this happened because the VR is still too small. Both are legitimate paths of reasoning, but we’d like to hear what you think. So please let us know in the comment section!