Case study
March 25, 2024
Natasha Bowers

Bearhammer Games

Organisation growth
Startup support

In February, Digital Catapult North East and Tees Valley (NETV) hosted The Gauntlet Cup, a virtual reality esports tournament that gamified physical exercise.

The tournament took place as part of an Innovate UK Edge project in collaboration with Digital Catapult and Bearhammer Games, a virtual reality game development studio based in Edinburgh, Scotland.    

The motive behind the competition was to host a user testing exercise for Bearhammer Games’ Ventures Gauntlet VR. Venture Gauntlet is a VR obstacle course that has introduced a new dimension to esports, testing players’ accuracy, stamina and balance by combining physical and virtual elements.

The winner of the Gauntlet Cup, Gareth Randle, won an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, and two runners-up each took home a £50 voucher.  

The Support

As part of the project, the team at Digital Catapult NETV organised The Gauntlet Cup tournament, provided the Advanced Media Production studio space to host the tournament and prepared surveys for the competitors to collect data. Over a full day, the competitors trialled various levels in the game and their feedback was captured. After the event, all data from the user testing was captured and we were able to create a final report for Bearhammer Games.

The success of the Gauntlet Cup has not only allowed Bearhammer to test their game with a focus group of gamers, but it also served as an effective way of reaching a new audience in the North East.

Brian Allen, Studio Director at BearHammer Games said:  

"Ventures Gauntlet VR was designed to challenge both the mind and body, creating a unique gaming experience that combines physical fitness with the thrill of adventure. We really enjoyed seeing players pushed to their limits in The Gauntlet Cup."

Gareth Randle, VR Gamer and Gauntlet Cup winner, said:  

“I am really happy about my win. I couldn’t have competed with any better people. We need more VR gaming like this out there and I can see the growth trajectory being incredible in the future.”

Sophie Craggs, the Studio Manager at Advanced Media Production Gateshead said:  

“We're thrilled to host such an exciting event at the Advanced Media Production Studio at Gateshead. The Gauntlet Cup brought together the North East’s gaming community for a unique and exciting tournament that offers a snapshot into the future of esports and video games. I hope that it has inspired local businesses and studios, and shown what’s possible, and I’m proud that we used this opportunity to demonstrate the value of combining gaming with fitness. It was a joy to watch the players in action.”

Click the video below to watch highlights from The Gauntlet Cup: