The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made most big events and festivals untenable as social distancing measures are in place. This has led to some organisers more to a digital format like the Vive Ecosystem Conference (HTC 2020 VEC) last month or the VR Awards later in the year. Today, the organisers behind the annual Games for Change event have announced that it’ll not only be virtual but free for everyone to attend.
Now in its 17th year, the Games for Change festival advocates the power of videogames as drivers for social impact and now includes the XR for Change Summit. Introduced in 2017, the immersive summit has previously featured speakers from Oculus’ VR for Good and HTC Vive’s VR for Impact initiatives.
Games for Change President Susanna Pollack issued a statement regarding the change, saying: “While the uncertainty of the coming months drove our decision, we are excited by the possibilities of a virtual Festival. We look forward to welcoming greater participation from around the world, offering more diverse programming, and expanding opportunities for connection and learning as we come together to explore how we drive real-world impact through games and immersive media.
“The Festival will continue to feature the formats you know and love, including engaging speaker sessions, panels, the XR for Change Summit, and the Games for Change Awards. We also recognize that networking is a major part of the Festival, and we will provide many opportunities for attendees to connect with mentors, funders, vendors, and of course, each other.”
It’ll still be taking place between 14-16th July as originally planned with registrations expected to go live soon. For those that have already purchased a ticket to the festival, refunds are available. While festival programming and speakers will be revealed in due course, the organisers haven’t specified how the virtual festival will be conducted and if there will be a VR element. HTC 2020 VEC went full VR with Tribeca Immersive’s Cinema360 programme presenting 15 films via Oculus TV, Oculus Go and Oculus Quest this week.