March 15, 2022
For Immediate Release
International Racquetball Federation [IRF] Officially Sanctions Racket:Next
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA: In a decisive vote of the IRF Board of Directors, Virtual Reality racquet sport game Racket:Next [aka Racket: Nx] has become a fully sanctioned sports discipline of an IOC-Recognized global sports federation, effective April 1, 2022.
With this action, Racquet:Next becomes the first electronic game of any sort to become an official global sport.
IRF [Colorado Springs, USA]; Racket:Next developer One Hamsa [Tel Aviv, Israel]; and the Metaverse Sports Association [San Francisco, USA]; signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2021. At that time, the IRF endorsed Racket:Next and committed to progress toward full sanctioning of the game as a sport.
IRF Secretary General Luke St. Onge said at the time: “When we realized what this combination could mean not only for our federation but for all of racquet sport, we jumped all over it. This will be a game-changer both for us and for world sport. We look forward to sharing so much more as this exciting partnership unfolds.”
As St. Onge predicted, the partnership has unfolded and “the game” has changed. Dean Schear, IRF Chief Financial Officer and Chair of the IRF Virtual Sports Committee, added, “Bottom line, we have a great vision, a great team, and the sense of urgency and commitment to act now.”
The IRF has been asked to participate in the E-Gaming Pavilion at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, in July. The IRF is also a candidate to participate in the Olympic Virtual Series later this year.
Metaverse Sports Association CEO Victor Bond, who drove and facilitated the agreement, commented, “This is a marriage made in future-sport heaven: a world-class developer and a unique, successful, and wonderful game with a fully global international IOC-recognized sports federation that has the vision and the grit to not just look around the corner but to go there.” Bond added, “This is one big step in our collaboration and one gigantic leap for the new technology of sport.”
One Hamsa CEO Assaf “Usul” Ronen added: “This first-ever sanctioning act supports Racket:Next’s core design principles as a fully athletic and visceral game, allowing players of all racquet sports – not only racquetball – to make every racket sport move, except for those that would not work in the average living room (like a racquetball dive or a clay court tennis slide), immersed inside a lighted, responsive, audio-filled dome, in a game that is purely skill based.”
Ronen continued, “Racket:Next has already surpassed 300,000 players worldwide, led by the fastest-growing VR headset, the Meta Quest 2, in which it’s been a top-rated title since its launch in 2019. Since 2021 we also witness a surge of players on emerging China-based platforms. Racquet sports, all together, is the largest sports category in the world, eclipsing even world football.
For more information:
web: www.racketnext.com email: email@example.com
International Racquetball Federation: www.internationalracquetball.com
One Hamsa: www.onehamsa.com
Metaverse Sports Association: www.metaversesportsassociation.world
International Racquetball Federation: The International Racquetball Federation is the governing body for all internationally sanctioned racquetball events. Racquetball is an extremely fast sport where balls can travel in excess of 150 mph in a 40 ft. long, 20 ft.
wide, and 20 ft. high court.
One Hamsa: Born to the deserts of the middle east, One Hamsa is a game design studio formed to craft quality VR games. We care about unique content, unreasonable levels of polish, and providing our players with value.
Metaverse Sports Association: The Metaverse Sports Association is dedicated to the development of high-quality athletic virtual reality games into officially sanctioned global sports. Racket:Next is our and the world’s first success. There will be more.
Questions and Answers
Will this game be “virtual racquetball?”
No, it will not be “Virtual Racquetball.” Our goal has been to develop a virtual sport that can be played in a normal home, in the living room or similar room.
This is to encourage wide adoption of the sport, in line with our interest in expanding participation in healthy electronic sport.
Though Racket: Next allows and rewards most of the strokes of racquetball and all other racquet sports, it cannot allow players to run from side to side or front to back in a full racquetball or other racquet sport court space.
And simulated VR movement in this kind of space induces motion discomfort in too many people to be acceptable to us.
Racket: Next is its own unique take on a Universal Virtual Racquet Sport, and we are endorsing it as such.
Will Racket:Next be in the Olympic Virtual Series?
We hope to be, but we will need to apply for that honor.
Will Racket:Next become a discipline of racquetball?
It has become a full racquet sport discipline of the IRF.
Why did the IRF choose Racket:Next? What other games were considered?
It is a beautiful game, literally and physically. It encourages vigorous athleticism and competitiveness. It supports Solo play, Co-op play [like doubles], and Multiplayer one versus one play, with opponents located anywhere in the world with WiFi. And it is a proven game, on the market since 2017.
It is also on far more VR platforms than any other, including the incredibly popular and affordable Meta Quest 2. [Other platforms include products made by HTC and Samsung, as well as others that run on PCs].
Regarding other games, the Metaverse Sports Association has searched the world for other games with the characteristics described above. For the moment, Racket:Next stands completely alone.
Will it be available in China?
Yes, absolutely. The Quest is not available in China, but there are many other platforms, including the Chinese-manufactured Pico Neo and iQIYI’s Qiyu 3.
Is One Hamsa paying the IRF for its endorsement?
What role will the Metaverse Sports Association play?
We will play a wide range of roles, from membership recruiting to tournament management to sponsorship development.
Will this project take resources from IRF racquetball programs?
The IRF are making no up-front payments, and will compensate their partners only from the revenues that they help to generate.
Will this sport qualify for the Olympic Program?
It is far too early to say that.
However, with enough players in enough places, Racket:Next would completely meet the requirements described in detail by IOC President Bach two years ago: that it be fully athletic, not only at the highest levels of competition, but throughout… that it be consistent with Olympic Values, with no violence or discrimination [by the way, it is completely Gender Neutral]… that it be offered by a fully accredited IOC-recognized sports federation like the IRF, and that it contribute meaningfully to the appreciation and broad acceptance of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement.
It is also highly televisable and streamable: the ball is impossible to miss, and the sights and sounds of the game are glorious.
Finally, the venue, judging, referee, and other operational requirements of Racket:Next will be drastically less than for conventional sports.
So, we think that Racket:Next will be an outstanding candidate for the Olympic Program.
Why is the IRF doing this?
The IRF recognizes that this sanctioning allows them to expand their visibility even farther worldwide.
Because they believe that they have an opportunity to offer the best virtual racquet sport game in the world to the entire range of racquet sports players and fans, in a time when virtual reality is finally going mainstream, primarily because of the Meta Quest.
After all, there are more total racquet sports players in the world than there are soccer players, and Racket:Next appeals to them all.
And the Meta Quest – on which Racket:Next is consistently highly rated – is taking the world of consumer VR by storm, and this is in addition to all the other platforms which support Racket:Next.
So we see an opportunity to bring this amazing VR Sport to the world at just the right time, especially given the new emphasis on the Metaverse.
By doing so, we also hope to create more interest in racquetball, which is another amazing racquet sport.
What about the controversy surrounding the requirement that the Meta Quest connect to players’ Facebook accounts?
Though we do not have such concerns about the use of the Meta Quest, those that do must act accordingly, and we will respect and accept their decisions.
Of course, no one who wants to participate in the Racket:Next program is required to use the Quest, There are many other VR headset alternatives which will work wonderfully.