Do you want to get into shape but have no time to go to the gym? Try out some of the best virtual sports at home. We review 10 of the best sports here.
With the advent of VR, our whole way of life is about to transform. After all, we can go on dates, see live shows, and even exercise straight from within our homes.
While not as good as playing outside with your friends, VR sports are still a valid alternative to the real thing, especially if they get you moving. You can play anything from boxing to virtual tennis, and you still have to punch or swing with your hands.
That said, let’s see which sports exactly have been virtualised and brought into our living rooms. Below, we cover ten popular examples you can play today.
10 Best Virtual Sports Games to Play
If you are ready to get moving at home, these are the ten best types of VR sports games you should try out today, as they are both fun and invigorating.
1. Virtual Running
If you’ve been bitten by the running bug, you can still satisfy your craving for an exhilarating run by installing a VR treadmill at home and playing a VR running game.
These games offer captivating urban or rural sceneries that you can freely explore by running in them. Naturally, you’ll need a compatible VR headset, such as the Meta Quest, and the corresponding touch controllers for navigation.
For instance, Happy Run is a fun little title you can play with an actual treadmill, and setting it up is quite fast. You only have to choose the distance you want to run, the music that will be playing, and the landscape you will be enjoying.
2. Virtual Cycling
Plenty of virtual cycling apps have also been popping up that allow users to get in their cardio workout straight from their living rooms. Some platforms have also been developed to sustain professional e-racing athletes competing in virtual tournaments.
Arguably the best app right now that offers virtual cycling is Zwift, as the company is investing heavily to make this platform the go-to choice for serious e-racing enthusiasts.
However, you’ll also need a bike trainer onto which you must mount your bicycle and a device that can run Zwift, which is not difficult since it’s supported on all modern platforms, from iOS and Android to macOS and Windows devices.
Finally, you purchase Zwift, install it, and start spinning. You’ll be able to choose from 11 different worlds that welcome everyone from amateur cyclists to experience professionals training for their next race.
3. Virtual Sim Racing
Car sim racing is another hugely popular virtual sport that works well with modern technology. In fact, recent e-racing titles have been refined so well that they can easily replicate every real-world condition that may apply during an actual car race—which is why some professional car races have installed and use sim racing gear at home.
Best of all, the money you have to spend for your e-racing setup is much less than you would need for a treadmill or a piece of virtual bike equipment. You only need a console or PC to run your favourite car racing game, a wheel, and some pedals.
Those who want to get into sim racing can get a full racing rig with a specialised seat and fitted accessories. By going this route, users can increase their level of immersion since they get access to premium features such as force feedback.
Some of the best sim racing games you could play include Assetto Corsa, Project CARS 2, Codemasters Dirt Rally 2.0, F1 22, Forza Horizon 5, and more.
4. Virtual Tennis
What if you are into tennis, though? Can you play this fantastic sport at home?
The answer is: yes, as tennis simulators started appearing just as soon as VR headsets began gaining popularity. And you only need a headset and a hand controller to play, which allow you to lose weight and have heaps of fun smashing those tennis balls.
The most popular tennis simulator you can get nowadays is First Person Tennis—a fantastic title that lets you play on a real tennis court and face opponents worldwide. But, even if you like playing alone, you can access a fun arcade and a simulation mode.
You only need to customise your 3D character, choose your serving hand, pick a court surface, and start climbing those global leaderboards.
5. Virtual Badminton
Badminton is another racket sport that is hugely popular in the world, which, naturally, led to it being virtualised for players who want to enjoy it while staying home.
Best of all, to play VR badminton, you need the same exact equipment you would use for a virtual tennis game: a gaming platform, a headrest, and a controller.
Then, you can install your favourite badminton game and start enjoying yourself while burning calories. For instance, Badminton Kings VR is a very popular VR title developed by Appnori Inc. that is both amusing and exhausting—which is a good thing!
The game’s realistic physics, fluid in-game animations, and immersive sounds all create the illusion of being on a badminton court. With the muscle burn you’ll feel after a match, you’ll definitely believe you experienced the real thing.
6. Virtual Table Tennis
The last racket sport on our list made available to gamers everywhere is table tennis, and it’s accessible via several table tennis simulators.
For instance, Eleven Table Tennis has taken the VR world by entertaining over a million players worldwide since its 2016 release with its lifelike graphics and fluid animations. Some users have even reported they spend hours in it as they forget they are not outside.
The only gear you need to play is a supported headset, such as the Quest 2 or the Quest Pro, and touch controllers. You don’t even need an internet connection if you choose to play alone, which For Fun Labs (the devs) ensured is still very enjoyable.
7. Virtual Boxing
If you want to get your sweat on with a full-body workout, you should give virtual boxing a go—you’ll have a blast, release your stress, and get a good exercise in.
There are plenty of VR boxing titles out there, but if you are looking for a true-to-life one, then you shouldn’t look further than The Thrill of the Fight.
To become the king of the ring in this game, you have to don your headset, pick up your touch controllers and fight a series of increasingly difficult opponents.
You have to put in some real work, as the AI fighters you will fight all have unique styles and techniques that will test your mental and physical limits by having you evade swings, block their punches, and land strong jabs to bring them to their knees.
8. Virtual Golf
On the other hand, if you are looking for a less intense sports game, you will definitely relax, have fun, and practice your swings with a good VR golf game.
Are you in the mood for an extremely amusing round of mini arcade golf, or want to get as close as possible to the real-life thing with a down-to-earth golf simulator? You can have it all as long as you own a half-decent headset and some controllers.
For example, if you would like to hone your golfing skills, you should install Golf+, which has become the premium VR golfing experience recently with the addition of top-notch graphics, fantastic 18-hole courses, and real-world ones too!
You’ll need your headset, preferably a Quest one, controllers, and enough room to swing. At the end of the day, Golf+ is as real as it gets and will definitely help you impress your friends the next time you are at the range.
9. Virtual Football
Avid football fans can also play their favourite game in a virtual setting. However, due to the nature of the game—it requires a lot of running and kicking—VR tech is yet to provide a believable football simulation. That said, you can still enjoy your favourite sport by installing one of the two biggest football games in the world: eFootball (formerly PES) and FIFA.
Both have been around for a very long time: the first FIFA game was released in 1993, whereas Konami published Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) as Winning Eleven two years later.
Regardless of which football game you choose, you can expect to have plenty of fun with your friends, as they allow you to customise your favourite team, lead your players to glory, or simply play one-off matches either offline or online to become the ultimate pro. However, one downside with these titles is that you are not physically active while playing.
10. Virtual Baseball
Last but not least, VR baseball is also making splashes in the VR space as the nature of the game allows the technology to shine: you swing and hit a home run, or you swing and miss and wait for your turn to try and impress your friends again.
As you can imagine, you’ll need the standard VR gear: a headset and controllers. Then, simply define your playing area, get into stance, and start swinging.
Currently, one of the best VR games you can play is TOTALLY BASEBALL, which was released in 2021 for the Quest series of platforms. In it, you can play anywhere on the baseball field, access different throwing options, customise your team, and just have lots of fun.
Virtual reality sports games are here to stay as they have given us an excellent alternative to the fun and exercise you could have while playing outside, both in an amateur and professional capacity. With the increasingly busy lifestyles of regular people, virtual sports might even be the preferred choice, as you can immediately jump into your favourite activity regardless of the weather, get your workout in, and jump into the shower immediately after.