There were two major tech events touching down in the desert city of Las Vegas this week — CES and the 5th Annual VR Fest ! From January 8th to 11th, tech fans, studio developers, gamers, industry executives, writers, and more mingled at VR Fest. Visitors listened to industry colleagues and thought leaders in discussions around VR, AR, MR, and XR technologies.
5th Annual VR Fest
The four-day event took place on and off The Strip at OMNIA Nightclub at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, PlatformaVR at Bally’s Las Vegas, Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino and the new Planet 13 Entertainment Complex.
On Tuesday, VR Fest held their Opening Night Gala in a Vegas-style late night event inside OMNIA Nightclub at Caesars Palace. Record producer and DJ Zedd performed as VIPs interacted with the world’s first Alienware backed VR VIP booth.
Panel Discussions About VR, AR, MR, XR
Early risers on Wednesday and Thursday got ahead of the industry curve by watching or participating in VR Fest Expo and VR/AR Academy Panels . Planet 13 Dispensary and Entertainment Complex hosted the event.
Over 50 speakers shared their vision at those panels or “Fireside Chats” and led a conversations about where the umbrella of XR — or, VR, AR, and MR have ventured, what’s working and what’s not and where they hope this evolving industry will go.
Overall, there were 17 “Fireside Chats” with guests like Pearly Chen from HTC Vive. Charlie Fink the author of “Charlie Fink’s Metaverse – An AR Enabled Guide to AR & VR” also discussed consumer VR. Companies like Google, HP, Magic Leap, Hologram USA, and Hologate were also guest speakers reports VR Fest’s press release .
The panels highlighted Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality, holograms, content, location-based VR entertainment, VR esports, the intersection of tech and medical innovations, and a whole lot more. Guests were also able to immerse in exhibits by Beat Games, Survios, Modal, Viveport Arcade, Chicken Waffle, and Wild Immersion.
The VFX-1. We can’t do a list about the history of Virtual Reality and not include the VFX-1. Released in the middle of the 1990s, the VFX-1 system was one of the most capable virtual reality headsets released on the market at the time. With stereoscopic 3D, multi-axis head movement detection and rotation, and the ability to play games that were not truly supported by the system, the VFX-1 was the true Virtual Reality deal at the time. Furthermore, their price tag was relatively cheap compared to other products on the market, coming at a mere $600. However, the VFX-1 was too advanced of a technology and it didn’t really take off. Later on, the company Vuzix that made the glasses was bought by Forte Technologies, which released a more expensive VFX 3D version, but it also didn’t manage to achieve huge success.
Competition for the Best of VR Fest
VR Fest also put on an Online XR Film & Game Competition where over 250 projects were put on the voting list. With over 39 categories to pick from, only one winner from each will take home awards for Best of VR Fest 2019. Winners have yet to be announced at the time of writing.
Virtual Reality has controllers but transforms into an active experience with the right game. It’s an especially energetic experience when it involves moving the body in virtual soccer. Participants competed in soccer challenges to win a VR headset. VR Fest and SAM Immersive hosted a Virtual Soccer Zone Tournament at Planet 13.
While writing this post, VR Fest was hosting PlatformaVR’s multiplayer VR attraction with a champagne toast and sneak preview for fans at Bally’s. Since this is VR Fest’s 5th year running, they celebrated with a Closing Night Gala at Hakkasan Nightclub at the MGM Grand with Tiësto supplying the party’s beats.