The VR Awards: One Giant Leap for VR

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On Monday 9th October, the world was introduced to The VR Awards hosted by VR Bound.

This inaugural event honoured individuals and companies for their contribution and research into advancing today’s technology and exploring all of Virtual Reality’s possible uses.

The awards up for grabs ranged from Best use of VR in Healthcare to VR Experience of the year with a range of companies and backgrounds shortlisted.

We previously delved into the history of VR and some of the nominations for VR Game of the Year.

The VR Awards were held near Trafalgar Square and attendees were treated to a gloriously decorated dining hall with superfluous entertainment and an excellent VIP After Party.

Photo 1 VR Awards 2017

With the technology still being so new, it was fantastic to witness so many people celebrating the VR Industry’s development and achievements.

As I gained exclusive access to the event, we are going to explore:

  • What happened at the VR Awards?
  • Who won VR Game of the Year?
  • Any words from the organisers of the VR Awards?

The VR Awards

Drinks Reception

From the minute the doors opened, it didn’t take long for the venue to fill with DJs and Dresses – it was wonderful to interact with so many industry influencers in our smart attire.

Everyone was greeted with a press wall to have their picture taken as well as a poster to sign.

Photo 29 VR Awards 2017

Many more press wall shots can be viewed here.

The Drinks Reception gave us an opportunity to meet the shortlisters while enjoying a fresh glass of bubbly.

The complimentary reception put everyone in the perfect mood to enjoy the night ahead.

Not long after arriving, everyone flocked upstairs to find their table in the dining hall. There, they were introduced to the immaculate decorations and the hosts of the evening.

Lloyd Griffith, supporting comedian for Jack Whitehall and Rob Beckett, made an excellent MC for the evening entertaining us with his choir boy voice and jokes.

He introduced us to Daniel Colaianni, Managing Director of VR Bound and co-organiser of the event, who gave his thoughts and aspirations of the VR Awards:

We knew that for VR to truly to be recognized and succeed, we need to celebrate the very best of every aspect of virtual reality and to provide a platform to expand upon and grow thereafter for many years to come.

Live Entertainment

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From the back of the venue appeared ZHL Strings as well as Tilt Brush artist Anna Zhilyaeva.

Together, they performed Four Seasons by Vivaldi as Anna drew live interpretations on the screen using Tilt Brush.

The audience was able to witness the growth of the seasons – everyone was impressed with the live art and music:

Three Course Meal

Every attendee was treated to a luxurious 3 course meal courtesy of Alchemy Live: bringing “culinary excellence, innovative presentation and impeccable standards”.

Each dish treated our tastebuds to uncommon yet delicious flavours.

And each meal was presented beautifully!

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The Awards

Finally, the moment we had all be waiting for had arrived: The VR Awards.

The room grew silent as they waited for each winner to be announced.

2017’s winners are as follows:

  • Best Use of VR in Education and training: ITI Crane Simulator
  • VR Startup of the Year: Livelike
  • Best use of VR in Healthcare: ImmersiCare
  • Best Out of Home VR Entertainment: Ghostbusters: Dimension
  • Interactive VR Media/Film of the Year: Allumete
  • Innovative VR Company of the Year: G’Audio Lab
  • VR Hardware of the Year: Oculus Touch
  • Most Creative Use of Marketing in VR: IKEA
  • Mobile VR Headset of the Year: Google Daydream 
  • VR Experience of the Year: Tiltbrush
  • VR headset of the Year: Oculus Rift 
  •  VR Game of the Year: Raw Data

As Lloyd revealed each winner, it was interesting to learn and see so many ways in which VR has been integrated into daily lives.

Not just is VR for games and home entertainment, Virtual Reality is changing lives.

For instance, Tribemix, winners of Best Use of VR in healthcare for ImmersiCare, have created a use for VR for Dementia Sufferers.

Tribemix collecting their award for Best Use of VR in Healthcare

Tribemix collecting their award for Best Use of VR in Healthcare

Thanks to the technology, it helps improve the patient’s well being while dealing with their condition and has even helped to build relationships between residents and carers within residential homes.

Innovators have recognised the potential in this technology and are now using it to help one another. If that doesn’t put your faith back in humanity, I don’t know what will!

Another example of stretching the boundaries of VR is IKEA.

They won Most Creative use of Marketing in VR – an industry we may have never expected to see a headset.

IKEA collecting their award for Most Creative use of Marketing in VR

IKEA collecting their award for Most Creative use of Marketing in VR

IKEA is allowing its customers the unique opportunity to customise their kitchen in an interactive, virtual space.

Rather than visiting a showroom, you can discover your perfect kitchen through the click of a button manipulating colours and decorations as you please.

The complete list of winners is available here.

(Continuing reading to hear more about VR Game of the Year)

Once all the winners were declared, they reconvened on stage for a final round of applause.

Photo 68 VR Awards 2017

VIP After Party

It was time to celebrate the successes of the evening in the VIP After Party.

VIP Guests were treated to an open bar and a variety of entertainment.

A number of VR Demos were arranged around the room to display AMD’s PCs. We were able to play a number of games including Magic Hour and Talos VR.

The most interesting item for guests to use were the subpacs. 

Subpacs allow the user to feel music through vibrations by wearing a rucksack. Coupled with a pair of headphones to listen to the live DJ and the dance floor was bustling with some terrible dance moves.

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VR Game of the Year

Of course, being a gaming fanatics, this award was the one we were most excited for.

And it was my favourite award of the evening. 

With the highest anticipation, each team cheered for their game as they saw their name come up on screen. It was brilliant to hear all attendees and shortlisters in light spirits.

As the tension grew, we waited eagerly for the MC to announce the winner.

“And the winner is…

… La La Land!”

The crowd burst in to fits of laughter shortly before he announced the winner to be Raw Data by Survios.

Raw Data – Survios

I have distinct memories of playing Raw Data at VR Connects in January 2017 – it made me squeal in front of an audience of people!

You find yourself sneaking into Eden Corp’s HQ with SyndiK8 – a group of skillful hackers stealing data from the mainframe in order to bring down the dominating corporation.

But your task isn’t as easy as it sounds…

Waves of vicious robots attack you as you attempt to gain the hidden secrets of the company. The longer you survive, the harder it becomes.

Saija

Raw Data offers a gameplay that players could only have dreamt of experiencing ten years ago. When imagining a VR Game, this is the sci-fi warfare they pictured going down.

And in terms of immersiveness, this game has topped my list.

This game can be enjoyed in side by side, cooperative mode with 4 unique protagonists with their own skills and weapons to choose from.

Or you can turn against one another in competitive mode. This is one of the few VR games to offer these inclusive game modes!

Bishop

Speaking to Nathan Burba, Co-Founder and CEO at Survios, he was honoured to have received the award:

“I’m still processing it–I’m shocked, honored, thrilled, but most of all humbled to win VR Game of the Year considering all the other extremely talented nominees and their incredible games.”

Like other companies in attendance, he believes the VR Industry is blossoming thanks to this event:

 “The VR Awards are a great foundation for building a respected community of creative professionals who acknowledge and support each other’s accomplishments in this burgeoning medium.”

I believe [The VR Awards] will play a key role in pushing the industry forward and incentivizing everyone in VR to do their best work.

Nathan shared with us some of the benefits of working on a project like Raw Data:

“When working on Raw Data, we focused on creating a fully polished product through dedicated, skilled teams focused on all the key aspects: engineering, art, creative, gameplay, design, marketing, and more.

This gave us the opportunity to collaboratively solve problems and learn from them within a multitude of fields, technical, artistic, and political.

Going forward, these lessons learned will be invaluable for the development of Survios’s future projects.”

Survios fully deserved to win VR Game of the Year!

Words from the Organisers

The VR Awards were organised by VR Bound, a company focused and dedicated to providing resources, tools and expertise to both consumers and businesses with an invested interest in the VR, AR and MR industry.

Co-Organisers, Daniel Colaianni and Jamie Van Amstel, shared their thoughts on the success of the event.

Organiser Daniel Colaianni opening the ceremony

Organiser Daniel Colaianni opening the ceremony

When discussing the best moments of the awards, Daniel explained that not all the most memorable moments happened on the night:

“It truly was an amazing night, seeing many influencers big and small grace the VR Awards presented by AMD studios with their presence. 

For myself in particular there wasn’t just one specific moment that stood out, more the entire journey that made its mark.

It’s all the fantastic little moments such as seeing the first nominations trickle in to announcing the winners up on stage in front of 300 international delegates that make an event such as the VR Awards so special.”

Jamie explained how it was a pleasure to host all companies big and small and that the event was more than just a networking room:

“It’s often a rare situation where an international community in that very minute could just enjoy themselves no matter what company they came from, no matter how big or small they were in the industry”

Everyone was there to celebrate the achievements of Virtual Reality whether they were a winner of not. This in itself made it an honor to be the ones to host them for the night.

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When discussing where they wanted the event to go, they mentioned that the event will continue to back all the companies and individuals who are advancing the industry:

“The VR Awards will continue to build on the foundations that have been laid in its inaugural year. Supporting the innovators, creatives, thinkers, disruptors, doers and dreamers who are exploring the future of VR, AR and MR, bringing with it phenomenal growth for this industry.”

The VR Awards 2017 was a Successful event!

We look forward to discovering and experiencing the ways in which VR will develop and all the ways inspiring experts can use the technology to better lives.

Having already introduced us to a group of talented individuals and companies, this event is an important part of celebrating all that we have achieved so far and recognising genius.

All the photos from The VR Awards can be viewed here.



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