Remember in 2007 when the iPhone came out? There was a lot of buzz around the concept of smartphones. Many were wondering what the killer app for Apple’s highly rumoured iPhone would be. Steve Jobs took the stage and announced that the killer app for the “most advanced piece of technology” was making phone calls.

steve jobs killer app for iphone

Many thought this as a non-sequiter by Jobs, the iPhone did become one of the most profitable products on the planet, and the handset drove the smartphone to where it is today. The core phone calling and SMS features were the main reason people had cell phones in 2007, and Jobs knew it. Since that day, any calling or texting apps have remained unchanged from Jobs’ original vision. So how does this all connect to Valve, the HTC Vive, and virtual reality in 2016?

The official commercial release of the HTC Vive today has brought a slough of amazing demos and games that we’re all salivating to try. There is one demo, however, that is the absolute VR killer app which will drive millions of headset units and it was only part of a brief trailer video Valve put out. That demo is Dota 2 Spectator Mode.

VR promises a multitude of amazing new apps, new experiences, and new games we can enjoy. Eventually our design paradigms will evolve and VR will have its own set of polished experiences, just like smartphones have 9 years after the launch of iPhone. For now however, the industry needs an amazing killer app that pushes an existing experience to remarkable new heights. Dota 2 is this existing experience. eSports are here to stay, and Dota 2 is leading the way with the new VR spectator mode. This is the social VR experience many have been anticipating.

Just like phone calling in 2007, a spectators perspective in eSports is mediocre. Despite high production quality and great efforts by tournament organizers, Dota 2 tournaments are still viewed the same way sports broadcasts have been for the past 60 years. Spectators watch the game live on a video streaming service and be at mercy of the “camera man”. Alternatively spectators can watch in-game (with audio commentary), but this essentially mimics the live-broadcasting option.

VR spectator mode changes all of that. Finally, VR gives the 4,500,000 Dota 2 spectators the ability to watch their game as if their were truly live on the battlefield. Gamers can finally view the entire battle as it was meant to be viewed – the true colosseum experience.

Valve’s Dota 2 VR spectator mode gives eSports fans around the world are able to feel like they are watching the game with other people. VR spectator mode for Dota 2 will be the killer app the drives millions of VR headset sales, and its iterations will become the gold standard for social VR experiences.

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