Sunday’s Championship 4 competition was just replayed in Horizon Worlds as a metaverse NASCAR race – and the realism was shocking, to say the least. Here’s a quick look at my experience.
Note: I was looking forward to sharing pictures and footage of my favorite moments while discussing each, but unfortunately, participants are blocked from doing so (more on that later).
NASCAR’s Metaverse Raceway
Fans first enter a hallway that leads down to the viewing area. There were a few promotional posters along the way. At the end, there were several platforms and a small bar area. Beyond that, the race streamed in real-time.
The setup combined real footage from 360 cameras placed along the track with the virtual viewing platforms. I was actually very impressed with the setup. It wasn’t just a screen: the entire scene unfolded before me in a panoramic view.
Unfortunately, though, I can’t entirely share it with you. Apparently, NASCAR doesn’t like free promotions, so the footage was blocked out from the Quest 2’s screen recorder; I could only capture the viewing platform. The rest appears black.
This screenshot is a perfect example: at the time, I was pointing to line of cars racing by. The desert sun beamed brightly on the nearby foothills and mountains that define Phoenix’s iconic landscape.
Unfortunately, all you can see a dark void.
Still, it’s amazing to experience the energy and realism that’s uniquely available in VR. I could almost feel the rumble of the engines as the cars went roaring past.
The cameras were placed right at the edge of the racetrack. The cars were almost directly below me as they flew by at crazy speeds. They got so close to the edge! And the virtual platforms blended seamlessly with the real-world action.
Ahead, the footage was all real, with one exception: a floating screen showing close-ups, stats, commentary, and replays. There were even a few crashes right in front of the cameras!
In the end Joey Logano spun (literally) into victory. Naturally, one camera was perfectly placed at the finish line.
Meeting New Friends During the Metaverse NASCAR Race
It’s also strange how real social experiences can feel in the metaverse. I happened to choose a platform with a couple of other guys enjoying the race (names have been removed for obvious reasons).
During the event, one of them decided to go grab a “drink” and brought one for me as well. After that, we just talked, laughed, and cheered as if we were all standing together at the Phoenix Raceway.
It’s crazy how real a social VR experience can feel. I truly felt like I was with others despite being alone at home. That feeling of being completely on your own is removed entirely. It’s as if your friends are sitting in the room with you. The scaled-down metaverse graphics do nothing to detract from that.
More Metaverse NASCAR Races to Come!
According to one of my new friends, this wasn’t the first metaverse NASCAR race in Horizon Worlds. So, I’m guessing that it also won’t be the last. If you want to experience the fun and energy for yourself (without the dark void), stay tuned for future races!