Baltimore Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson unveiled the first-ever official virtual reality video game of the NFL on April 20, which appears to be named “NFL Pro Era” with a fall 2022 release date.
“You’re leading every player in that huddle. The team is yours now,” says rapper Tobe Nwigwe in the trailer, revealing that gamers will be forced to “think like a quarterback” and lead the offense of an NFL team of their choice.
“Welcome to the future of the field,” concludes Nwigwe in the trailer.
The game is made by StatusPro, a sports technology company founded by former Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and Baltimore native Troy Jones, who played quarterback for both Western Kentucky and the University of Akron.
According to their website, StatusPro is a “a company built by a couple of athletes with bold aspirations to push gaming and training beyond the status quo.” Their list of high-profile investors includes LeBron James, Naomi Osaka and Drake, as well as music executive Jimmy Iovine and investor Paul Wachter.
StatusPro previously released “Pre Game Prep,” an extended reality training platform geared towards NFL teams, coaches and players.
“Teams currently utilize StatusPro’s Pre-Game Prep to simulate practice and game reps with their players,” reads the description on the company’s website.
More Details on New VR Game
But while “Pre Game Prep” was developed specifically for use within the NFL, StatusPro’s new game is intended for the consumer market to be played by the general public. The game will be available on MetaQuest and Playstation virtual reality systems.
“The biggest difference is we are purely from the players’ perspective,” said StatusPRO executive producer Jay Juneau, via ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “You’re not a coach. You’re not a GM. You’re not the owner. You are an NFL player, and that’s what we focused on.”
For the first iteration of “NFL Pro Era,” gamers will only be able to play as a quarterback, though future installments of the game could include more positions.
The game was first announced back on March 23, with Hawkins releasing the following statement, per Sam Byford of The Verge:
“We are grateful to the NFL and our community of investors and stakeholders who share our vision to create an entirely new standard in sports and gaming. We keep the athlete first in everything we do, and as former football players it means even more to be able to recreate what it actually feels like to step out on the field. Through our proprietary technology at StatusPro, we can deliver an immersive experience that helps NFL fans transform into pro athletes.”
Lamar Jackson’s Other Ventures
It’s unclear if Jackson is involved with StatusPro or their new game beyond the initial announcement and marketing. As one of the most dynamic, exciting quarterbacks in the NFL, the 2019 MVP would be a strong candidate to grace the cover of the inaugural edition of “NFL Pro Era.” Jackson was previously the cover athlete for EA Sports’ “Madden 22” in 2021.
But Jackson may want to join LeBron James and Naomi Osaka as another high-profile athlete investor in StatusPro. He’s already pursued multiple non-football business ventures, including his own clothing line, an endorsement deal with Oakley and his very own children’s book.