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Must know VR discussion points from London Games Festival’s VR Summit

London Games Festival Logo

London Games Festival, a new annual event to celebrate the games industry’s huge cultural and economic impact right here in London, hosted a Virtual Reality Summit this week.

I was on the ground listening to speakers talk about all things VR – everything from how games, film and VFX collide, to how developers work behind the scenes to create amazing VR, to the challenges we face with the ever-growing VR market.

Here are my five key takeaways from the first ever London Games Festival VR Summit:

VR is big business – and will get bigger

More than $250million was invested in software alone from VCs to the VR industry in 2015. China is a market to watch as its games market is already worth 22 billion dollars, and large Chinese companies are getting in on the VR game which we will be able to tap into. However, VR brands and companies need to think about the end experience. People will only spend money in VR if it’s on things they care as much about as the things they have in real life.

The industry must learn to share

The idea that developers must share ideas for the VR industry to progress was a key theme. “People who go it alone will fail”, states Sam Gage from previsualization company The Third Floor. People working in VR should even consider sharing their data online for those in the community to help improve on their work; solving problems that they themselves missed.

We can solve VR sickness

Queasiness is still a problem for some VR users, but there are ways this can be controlled with session length, reduced lag and expectation managing. Matthew Newcombe at Ustwo explained how when making Land’s End it was key is for the player to transport to their destination with intuitive “gaze points”. VR should feel comfortable and autonomous, as though if you want to go somewhere you can, but with gentle encouragement to stay within the right space (just as players solve puzzles in a cylinder shape in Land’s End).

Matthew Newcombe from Ustwo speaking honestly about VR development at the VR Summit

Matthew Newcombe from Ustwo speaking honestly about VR development at the VR Summit

VR is still in its infancy

NVIDIA’s Phil Scott argued that VR is not a revolution, but the start of an evolution. We haven’t had the “Mario 64” moment yet – the culturally defining peak that people resonate with. While the Sci Fi London Film Festival shared a rather dark video about how the layers of VR reality could affect us, others warned that we need to nail the basics of VR before getting too ambitious, lamented over the possibility of a VR system untethered from wires, and imagined a new kind of shared, social VR experience.

The quiet renaissance

One of the final thoughts of the day came from Herman Narula, CEO at Improbable. He talked of a subtle shift in the industry – a quiet renaissance in VR, a new freedom in making the game world come to life. VR demands new ways of telling stories from developers. Just as NVIDIA’s Everest demo is hailed as a great example of how VR can convey real experiences, developers are now having to rethink how gamers experience a narrative – how VR as a new medium can tell stories in a new language, and for a potentially new audience.

For those of you keen to explore other VR events on offer, why not head over to Bristol’s VR World Congress next week, Storytelling in VR on 26 April or VRX in London next month, to name a few.

Emma Seddon
Emma Seddon
Categories: Events, Gaming, VR

The year in pictures #Dynamo2015

It’s been an incredible and fun year at Dynamo PR.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to over the last 12 months…

We hosted the world’s first micro-pig picnic this summer for Yelp

On the theme of animals, Bathrooms.com launched a nationwide search for a duckling bath tester:

post-2015-duck-tester

We raised more than $20 million for 40 crowdfunding projects, including Neeo’s smart remote smashing $1.5m on Kickstarter earlier this year:

post-2015-neeo

AttractionTix.co.uk answered the question for you CanIBringMySelfiestick.com:

post-2015-selfie-stick

Will, Alexis and Alesha took to the red carpet to launch the Electric Jukebox at BAFTA:

post-2015-electric-jukebox

And to top it off, we climbed Everest with NVIDA showcasing their GeForce technology at an intimate virtual reality event:

post-2015-nvidia-geforce

Fancy being in our round up next year? Just drop us a line and who knows what could happen.

Ellen Powell-Chandler
Ellen Powell-Chandler

Gaming takeaways from #E32015

Taking place in Los Angeles, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the world’s premier trade show for the games industry. This year over 52,000 people attended – even Kanye West made an appearance (playing Street Fighter V behind a privacy screen, so I’m told).

Blockbuster game announcements included Fallout 4, Halo 5, Uncharted 4, Lara Croft’s next adventure and a new game in the Gears of War franchise. Design led games include Unravel, Abzu, The Last Guardian. And for a dose of nostalgia, it was all about the Final Fantasy 7 remake.

I was on the show floor checking out the best that the industry had to offer, with a team supporting from our UK HQ. Here are some of the top trends we spotted this year.

Virtual Reality

Microsoft had previously revealed an Oculus Rift tie-up and at E3 they announced a Valve partnership, meaning its HTC Vive VR headset will work on Windows 10. The company also revealed a new live demo of its Hololens augmented reality headset running Minecraft.

Everyone from Paper Crane in the Indie Cade area (a section of the showfloor showcasing indie games) to our client FOVE, who were showing off their eye-tracking VR technology, show that that fans are eager for an immersive gaming experience and see if it lives up to the hype.

May the E3 force be with you

Star Wars fans – which includes most of the Dynamo office – were finally able to see the long awaited Star Wars Battlefront gameplay footage.

EA demoed the Battle of Hoth, available November 17 (one month before the new Star Wars film debuts in cinemas). You can play as Luke and Darth Vader among other Star Wars characters, and gamers will be pleased to see that it actually looks damn pretty good.

Release date anticipation

Sony announced a remake of Final Fantasy 7 with no actual release date, Uncharted 4 and The Last Guardian have long awaited launches, and some were even shown for the second year running at E3 with no nearby official release.

This approach which was more prevalent in 2015 gives game developers a chance to get it right and give fans what they want.

Power to the creative gamer

With PC gaming and its penchant for user-created content on the rise, this year we saw its impact spread to other platforms.

LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule revealed Dreams, and Bethesda is offering more scope for user mods after the success of Skyrim (cheeeese?). Other games include GTA V, Fallout and Doom.

On the consumer side is Nintendo’s Mario Maker, where I created my own 2D levels in the style of various titles from across the series’ history. Our client Bloxels also demoed their “build your own videogame” Kickstarter project.

Making gaming more inclusive

Horizon and ReCore featured female protagonists in their debut trailers, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Dishonored 2 now have female protagonists too.

EA, as well as revealing that the new FIFA 14 release will have “interception intelligence” to improve gameplay mechanics, also announced in a first for the soccer franchise that there would be female teams.

To many this is a welcome change, showing that the industry is moving in right direction and opening gameplay out to become more inclusive.

So who won?

There are a ton of articles as to who “won”  E3 and it is reckoned to be one of the strongest E3s in quite a bit. In my view, it is ultimately the gamers who won, after all we all want to engage and excite them.  A great tool we use for some of our clients is Brandwatch, and here is its analysis looking at social to find E3’s winner.

Emma Seddon
Emma Seddon
Categories: Events, Gaming, Knowledge

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