An evening dedicated to celebrating the past years VR accomplishments.
Back in March, VR Bound along with their partners AMD, Foundry and HP asked VR enthusiast from all around the globe to nominate VR experiences, hardware, startups and innovations in 12 different categories for the inaugural 2017 VR Awards; an elegant black-tie event which will be held at the legendary Central London venue 8 Northumberland Avenue on October 9th.
VR was a big part of last year with new experiences, hardware and companies pushing the technology to the forefront of our everyday lives. 360VR videos and photos became a regular part of our social media feeds, billions of dollars invested in VR technology advancement, and a VR experience for everything from movie trailers, corporate training and Presidential farewells. It was indeed a big year for VR.
I spoke with VR Bound co-founder, Daniel Colaianni about what he hopes the VR Awards would achieve for VR technology and he says, “The VR Awards exists to promote growth and achievement throughout the immersive industry by reinvesting in promoting strategic partnerships.” The ceremony will have some of VR’s biggest luminaries in attendance all there to celebrate some of the outstanding milestones in the industry.
With almost 500 nominations submitted and the nomination process finally tallied, VR Bound has officially announced their nominee shortlist which includes names that you would expect to be on a VR award list, as well as some surprises. Colaianni told me, “the outstanding nomination process for the VR Awards 2017 is anything to go by, future years will continue to build upon the astounding work our nominees have been producing.” So much so that organizers are already taking registered interests for 2018.
Also announced was the judging panel that includes virtual reality experts such as Josh Naylor of Unity Technologies, Jenn Duong of Shiift, and CEO of Spiral Media Megan Gaiser. The complete list of judges can be found here.
Speaking with Josh Naylor from Unity Technologies about what he’ll be looking for when it comes to selecting in the category of VR experiences, “The best use of VR content for me is when it truly enhances an experience, something that is a thousand times more enriching to the user when in Virtual Reality compared to a flat 2D experience,” adding, “a product that immerses the user into a world and they forget about their physical surroundings.”
As for VR hardware, Naylor says, “I’m looking for something that allows the aforementioned content to reach its full potential whilst making itself as accessible as possible to consumers.”
Organizers of the 2017 VR Awards thought out each category very carefully to make sure the VR industry was properly represented during this night of recognition. Colaianni says “Our mission of being an inclusive awards body for the immersive sector spans far beyond just entertainment.” Along with categories that you would expect, such as gaming and entertainment, I was excited to see a category for VR education and training. An area of VR that I have personally done a lot of research on.
I reached out to Steve Bambury; Head of Digital Learning and Innovation at JESS Dubai, and asked him about his thoughts on VR education and training being recognized at the award ceremony. He told me, “The inclusion of an award for Best use of VR in Education and Training is a clear indication that developers are starting to recognize the potential that VR offers beyond entertainment.” He continues, “current students will grow up in a world that is permeated by VR on many levels so it’s important to introduce them to the concept.”
But enough with the category details, let’s dive right into the fun stuff, look at each category and see who made the nominee shortlist.
Something to note, all nominees had to be centered on a virtual reality experience, and not an augmented reality experience.
Nominees for VR Headset of the Year
- HTC – Vive
- Oculus – Rift
- Razer – OSVR
- Sony – Playstation VR
- Starbreeze – StarVR
Nominees for Mobile Headset of the Year
- Merge VR – Goggles
- Google – Daydream View
- Samsung – Gear VR
- Homido – V2
Nominees for VR Hardware of the Year.
- Somniacs – Birdly
- Leap Motion – Leap Motion
- Oculus – Touch
- Nullspace VR – Hardlight Suit
- Ultrahaptics – Ultrahaptics
Nominees for VR Game of the Year
- Owlchemy Labs & Adult Swim Games – Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
- Epic Games – Robo Recall
- Dylan Fitterer – Audioshield
- Playful – Lucky’s Tale
- Steel Crate Games – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Survios – Raw Data
- Tender Claws – Virtual Virtual Reality
- Vertigo Games & Jaywalkers Interactive – Arizona Sunshine
- SUPERHOT Team – SUPERHOT VR
- Rebellion – Battlezone
- Ready At Dawn – Lone Echo
Nominees for Innovative Company of the Year
- Zero Latency
- Technicolor Experience Center
- G’Audio Lab
- Merge VR
- Jaunt VR
Nominees for Experience of the Year
- WEVR – theBlu
- Horizons Studio – Horizons VR
- Against Gravity – Rec Room
- Google – Tilt Brush
- Google – Google Earth VR
- Magnopus – Mission:ISS
- BBC & REWIND – Home – A VR Spacewalk
- Toast – Richie’s Plank Experience
Nominees for Most Creative use of Marketing in VR
- Greenpeace – Virtual Explorer
- Idea Studio – UNICEF 360
- Ford Motor Company / GTB Agency – Ford F-150 Raptor: Born to Baja
- Pebble Studios – ABC – ’Catch Jack’ Time after Time
- IKEA – IKEA VR
- Imagination & REWIND – Jaguar Electrifies – The Future Is Now
- Kuju – The Chainsmokers: Paris VR
- Framestore – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: VR
- RSA VR – Alien: Covenant In Utero | A Virtual Reality Experience
- Infinite360 – Capital Creates Change
Nominees for Interactive VR Media/Film of the Year
- 5th Wall – ‘The Mummy’ Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience
- Google – Tabel
- Baobab Studios – INVASION!
- Penrose Studios – Allumette
- Anotherworld VR – KOBOLD VR
- Hver Sin Stilhed – Separate Silences
Nominees for VR Startup of the Year
- Inception VR
- Cerevrum Inc.
- MANDT VR
Nominees for Best use of VR in Education and Training
- Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
- Make Real – PROCAT
- Leiceter Fire and Rescue Services – VF4-360
- VirtualSpeech – VirtualSpeech
- Boulevard Arts, Inc – Boulevard
- Cerevrum Inc. – Skill Hub VR
- Make Real – EDF Energy “Reactor Builder”
- Industrial Training International – ITI Crane Simulator
- Alchemy VR – Space Descent VR with Tim Peake
Nominees for Best use of VR in Healthcare
- AiSolve – VRSIMS
- Occo VR – Osso VR
- Vivid Vision – Vivid Vision
- Tribemix – ImmersiCare
Nominees for Best out of the home VR Experience
- THE VOID – THE VOID’s Ghostbusters: Dimension
- Universal Park & Resorts – The Repository
- Thorpe Park Merlin Entertainment – Derren Brown’s Ghost Train
- Zero Latency – Zero Latency
- REWIND & Welsh National Opera – Magic Butterfly