Last week, we traveled south to Los Angeles for VRLA #4 to showcase the Virtually Live experience and learn a little more about what is going on in the space.
VRLA is a Virtual Reality expo that has doubled in attendance since first making it’s debut four years ago. This year was no exception, as the LA Convention Center was buzzing with excitement in anticipation for the release of consumer VR sets in early 2016.
Over 25 companies demoed new VR content, giving the thousands of attendees a hands-on peek into the future of sports, entertainment, gaming and much more.
Here’s some highlights of the weekend:
Virtually Live Gives You the Sensation of Streaking at the Manchester Derby
— Trevor K. (@trevorck) August 30, 2015
His words, not ours! Though it is a nice analogy for the unique immersion that one gets when experiencing the Virtually Live (Hey! That’s us!) platform. Not limited to the physical placement of a camera, VL allows users to view VR simulation of actual games in real time from anywhere in the stadium.
So during our demo of the Manchester Derby, users can explore Etihad Stadium as if it were the World of Warcraft. Seriously, lay out a blanket at midfield for a game day picnic or post up on the sideline next to Man U manager Louis van Gaal and whisper in his ear “You will never be Alex Ferguson!”.
OK, I know it’s Los Angeles and all, but we from the Bay Area are still susceptible to being starstruck. A familiar looking face came to the Virtually Live booth for a demo, can you tell who it was from this blurry pic we snapped?
No, we aren’t talking about VR celeb and VRIDEO founder Kuangwei Hwang, but rather the man in front who is dressed as though he’s heading to the horse track: cinema god Ed Harris.
It’s only fitting that the man who played architect of the fake world in the Truman Show would be interesting in seeing what’s new in the similarly cosmetic VR world.
Given the how lost an attendee can find themselves amongst the typical (oft times BS) tribe speak of tech entrepreneurs, I also imagine Harris frequently interrupting VRLA pitches Apollo 13 style:
The Private Björk Beach Serenade that Will Bring Grown Men To Tears
Or so it was reported from one onlooker at the VRSE demo table. The company introduced a VR project that places the user on a romantic beach setting, walking side by side with Björk along the water as her sweet melodies are directed at you and you alone.
If it were up to me I’d probably swap out Björk and the beach for Miley Cyrus on the set of Sesame Street, but I have learned in the past that my tastes aren’t universally shared.
VR for Veterans
I remember scoffing when a previous colleague, in jubilant reaction to Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, exclaimed: “Think about it, you won’t need to travel anymore!”
Years later, after resisting the urge to suckerpunch him, I’m starting to finally come around to his philosophy. Tourism WILL be a major player in the VR revolution, but not in an effort to rid traveling.
Honor Everywhere, a group dedicated to allowing the thinning population of WWII veterans to experience the memorials built in their honor while they still can, is a great practitioner of this vision.
Place your right hand over your heart or in salute position before watching this video:
It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Man Suspended by Cables Wearing an HMD!
— LATech Digest (@LATechDigest) August 29, 2015
Buzz Lightyear called, he wants his……….his ummmmm……..he wants to be hooked up to this thing!
The folks over at MindRide were turning heads with this “Superman Simulator” complete with fans blowing in your face because how else are you supposed to feel like Kate Winslet in Leonardo DiCaprio’s arms?
In summary, VRLA #4 was a blast for both the companies showcased and its attendees. In it’s final edition before the release of consumer VR hardware in 2016, the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming VR revolution was on full display. We can’t wait to see you all back at the Los Angeles Convention Center next year!
-Spencer @ VL