We’re almost in December. Let that just sink in for a moment. We’re 11/12ths through 2016, a year that for many of us can frankly can just go the hell away at this point. Yes, just over 0.083 of 2016 remains before we can cast it to history with a boot up its 6 shaped backside. That means there’s not many VR vs. columns left before we bid it (the year, not the column) adieu either. Which does leave me in something of a quandary because December isn’t the busiest of times, mainly because… well… it’s December. America is just coming off of Thanksgiving, and following the fiendish turkey cull is sort of slumped over a sofa for fear of the gallon of egg nog and cranberry sloshing about inside of them will result in some form of spillage. They don’t want to move – and I can’t say I blame them.
In the UK we had an interesting Autumn, which lasted apparently one evening around November 2nd. On November 1st we were enjoying the last dying embers of a long, slow and relatively mild Summer and woke up the next day knee deep in leaf-litter. Getting knocks on the door from the local wildlife asking if we knew what the heck just happened. I was even more confused upon waking up on November 3rd to discover that I had lost all my toes due to frostbite and a family of polar bears had taken up residence in my living room. It has been decidedly chill ever since. Chill and wet. Unsurprisingly we don’t want to move either.
Unfortunately for me neither do the polar bears. Which means they’re going to mess up my council tax rebate. The unthinking fluff balls.
Despite our wishes to the contrary we do indeed have to move. For the wonders of this hectic year in virtual reality (VR) mean that December does indeed have a number of events going on… in fact that’s really been the theme of 2016 for those following VR and AR. We’ve gone from a couple of expos, cameos (for want of a better phrase) at games industry events, medical seminars, educational round tables, and so on. And, not forgetting, a number of semi-regular more local events. Be it VRLA’s series in America or something like Virtual Umbrella’s VR In A Bar in the UK. Compare that to what we had in 2016, which was essentially mass carnage. There were VR and AR expos and events popping up all over the place. VR still had its appearances at other established events, but now it was the story, a headline act of games industry events and technology expos. It started with an early CES after the new year and pretty much accelerated from there. I’ve not even mentioned all the official brand events that we all need to keep an eye on.
Going from 2015 to 2016’s VR calendar was essentially that gif from Community of the guy coming back into the apartment with pizza only to find it on fire and everything crazy. Events popped up immediately after or before other events. They began bleeding into and over each other. Just when you thought there was a chance to catch your breath, WHAM! Here’s the next one. BAM! Here’s two more.
There’s already events sprouting up throughout January and February, and the whole shebang kicks off again with CES which starts on January 5th 2017. With 2016 you could kind of forgive it for being so all over the place but in 2017 the industry that is VR and AR needs to take a leaf out of the Games Industry’s book and figure out what it really needs. Because it really doesn’t need an event every fortnight, with 85% of the same people doing the same or similar discussions, round tables, firesides or whatever. The cream has to rise to the top so we can nail down something of what can be called an annual event schedule. Key events at specific times, incorporating shared ones like E3 so that everything is balanced out and, frankly, that everyone knows what’s going on.
It’s time for everyone to get organised. So we actually have time at all…