StatusPro released the first trailer Wednesday for its upcoming VR football game, which puts players inside the helmets of NFL QBs. NFL Pro Era is set to launch this fall, with startup founders Andrew Hawkins and Troy Jones hoping to get it to Meta Quest and Playstation VR owners around the start of the NFL season.
StatusPro raised $ 5.2 million in seed funding last fall, having built simulation tech that is now used by multiple NFL teams. KB Partners and TitleTownTech led the round, with groups linked to the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers contributing as well. Other investors include LeBron James, Naomi Osaka and Drake. The company has long planned to marry that pro-level experience with consumer titles.
“We set out to affect athletes, to affect fans, and to affect gamers,” Hawkins said in an interview. “So that’s our kind of North Star.”
Early StatusPro footage is reminiscent of Madden gameplay, except that rather than calling the plays and hearing announcers, users see and hear what a QB would.
“We tried to leverage the tech to include every little minute detail that goes into playing quarterback on Sunday,” said Jones, a former college QB. Hawkins played six years in the NFL as a wideout. The game will also react to real world data, updating its gameplan model to match the way IRL coaches call games. Pro Era plans to offer single game and full season modes, as well as additional practice and online games. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Virtual reality apps have gained popularity in the gaming and fitness industries, but full scale sports games have yet to catch on. Pro Era is set to be the only sports game included in a Meta Quest showcase Wednesday, according to a company spokesperson.
While Jones and Hawkins have a background in football, they’re already looking to use their simulation tech to offer VR games based on other sports. StatusPro’s tools could also be leveraged for augmented reality (AR) applications and other forms of extended reality (XR).
“We want to democratize the athletic experience,” Hawkins said. “Any sport where there’s an athletic experience, we want to be the ones to bring that to life in XR.”