Video games get more realistic with each new release. Better graphics, improved physics, and more intelligent non-playable characters mean most games look and feel much more life-like than their predecessors from 10 or 20 years ago. Taking this into consideration, it's no surprise that players and especially those who are also sports fans love to get as close to it as possible. That's also why many enjoy betting on the games, using their knowledge of the sport to make predictions and free bet promotions to eke out extra value on the wagers they place. 

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Virtual reality is clearly the next logical step in bridging the gap between video games and reality. Improvements in graphics are starting to be limited by the laws of diminishing returns, so much bigger steps can be made by immersing the player in a 360-degree world than by them viewing it through a flat monitor. 

We’ve seen VR games in plenty of genres, including great titles like Half-Life: Alyx, No Man’s Sky, and Skyrim VR. But one thing we haven’t seen though, is many sports titles embrace virtual reality. 

Sure, there have been a few attempts like VR Sports Challenge, a title that lets you try your hand at sports like basketball and American football, but it’s a “jack of all trades” title rather than a true simulation game. 

There is a lot of potential for sports games to be improved by virtual reality, though we’re yet to see this truly harnessed by developers. With the release of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series S/X, virtual reality versions of our favourite titles may finally be on the horizon. 

Of all the sports that would look good through a VR headset, here are some of the best. 


Football is the most-watched sport around the world and the national sport of many European and South American countries. Most teams have long histories, leading to fandoms that are passed down from generation to generation. In many parts of the world, your football team is a big part of your identity. 

This passion is also why FIFA Football is such a popular video game, with fans queuing up to get their hands on the new release each year, even if little has changed from the previous version. 

Over the years, the graphics have come on leaps and bounds, becoming more realistic with each new release. New functionality has also helped to spice up the gameplay, including custom team and career modes. But despite this, the game hasn't evolved much for most of the 21st century. 

Virtual reality would change this though. It would mean football fans could get closer to realising their dreams of playing for their beloved club than has ever been possible before. Instead of seeing the game from up in the stands and controlling the players remotely, they could step into the boots of one of the 11 men and play (almost) for real. 

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American Football

VR Sports Challenge hints at the potential a virtual reality American football game could have. Looking through the bars of your helmet, you get to feel the tension that comes from standing holding a football, trying to find a receiver, while being charged at by several huge men.

EA’s Madden franchise is the gold standard when it comes to American football games and the company has been reliably churning out annual releases of this officially licensed title since the early 1990s.  

However, some fans feel recent releases have been let down by the aggressive use of microtransactions and a lack of innovation. 

Like football in Europe, American football is a huge part of the culture of many US cities. The NFL is by far the most-watched sports league in the country, and much of the nation grinds to a halt for one Sunday each February as they come together to watch the Super Bowl. 

This makes American football a prime candidate for the VR treatment. There’s a huge market for it thanks to a deep-rooted love for the sport and a virtual reality game would also help satisfy many of the fans that feel the Madden franchise has stagnated. 

Formula 1

Formula 1 is often referred to as the “pinnacle of motorsport”. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the fact that it is the most-watch motor racing series in the world is irrefutable. 

F1 games have come on quite a bit in recent years after a period of stagnation in the late 2000s, particularly with the introduction of Formula 2 cars in the 2020 release. Codemasters’ F1 franchise has also become one of the most realistic sports simulators too, with support for force-feedback steering wheels and other hardware. 

However, a lot of hardcore fans have been asking VR to be included in the F1 games for some time. F1 2020 didn’t support virtual reality natively, but the third party system vorpX does make it possible. The work involved in doing this does put it out of reach of the average consumer, but it does show how promising a VR version of an F1 game can be. 

With head-tracking enabled, you’re able to turn your head to focus on the apex of a corner as you turn it, just as you would if you were really out on a racetrack. 

Given that Codemasters has already created a virtual reality version of one of its other racing games, DiRT Rally 2.0. Players have praised the implementation of virtual reality in the game. With the 3D effects creating depth, head tracking, and high-quality graphics, the game is about as close as you can get to driving a real race car without actually being in one. 

Overall, just about every sports game will look great with an upgrade to virtual reality. By far, the easiest game to add VR support to will be the F1 series as it’s already been done by enthusiasts. However, developers would be able to make any other sports game come alive by placing the player in the shoes of a real athlete and giving them a first-person perspective of competing in front of huge crowds. 

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