A new way to experience the NFL from a gaming perspective is coming, as the league’s first officially licensed game for VR platforms will be available this fall.
NFL PRO ERA is developed by StatusPRO and is set to debut on Meta Quest and PlayStation VR. The game is also licensed by the NFL Players Association, allowing the use of player names and likenesses.
“When we think about this experience, you finally immerse yourself as a professional athlete for the very first time and you see it in a way that you’ve never seen it before,” said Troy Jones, co-founder of StatusPRO. “It’s the future, and we see it as the new era of gaming and the next step in how people will consume sports.”
Jones, a former multi-school varsity quarterback, co-founded StatusPRO with former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. Their hope is that having former gamers running the business will add to the understanding and authenticity of the VR experience.
Over the past two years, StatusPRO first developed virtual reality technology that NFL teams can use in their facilities, then moved on to creating a game for the general public.
“The biggest difference is that we’re purely from a gamer’s perspective, right,” said Jay Juneau, Executive Producer of StatusPRO. “You’re not a coach. You’re not a general manager. You’re not the owner. You’re an NFL player, and that’s what we focused on.”
The purpose of the game, beyond entertainment value, is to help fans understand what it’s really like for quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage and what they see when they take a shot. Jones said the game would give players the chance to see if they could complete a pass they might have seen – or criticized – Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes on TV.
“In experience, you can play quarterback in an NFL game,” Hawkins said. “You are capable of making the decisions.”
Juneau said there will be around 200 individual faces in the game, but the limitations of technology will mean there will be generic faces as well. Players will have accurate body types, numbers, and stats, with ratings based on data collected to create as realistic an experience as possible.