VR Bound Announces Nominees For Inaugural 2017 VR Awards

An evening dedicated to celebrating the past years VR accomplishments.
Back in March, VR Bound along with their partners AMD, Foundry and HP asked VR enthusiast from all around the globe to nominate VR experiences, hardware, startups and innovations in 12 different categories for the inaugural 2017 VR Awards; an elegant black-tie event which will be held at the legendary Central London venue 8 Northumberland Avenue on October 9th.
VR was a big part of last year with new experiences, hardware and companies pushing the technology to the forefront of our everyday lives. 360VR videos and photos became a regular part of our social media feeds, billions of dollars invested in VR technology advancement, and a VR experience for everything from movie trailers, corporate training and Presidential farewells. It was indeed a big year for VR.
I spoke with VR Bound co-founder, Daniel Colaianni about what he hopes the VR Awards would achieve for VR technology and he says, “The VR Awards exists to promote growth and achievement throughout the immersive industry by reinvesting in promoting strategic partnerships.” The ceremony will have some of VR’s biggest luminaries in attendance all there to celebrate some of the outstanding milestones in the industry.
With almost 500 nominations submitted and the nomination process finally tallied, VR Bound has officially announced their nominee shortlist which includes names that you would expect to be on a VR award list, as well as some surprises. Colaianni told me, “the outstanding nomination process for the VR Awards 2017 is anything to go by, future years will continue to build upon the astounding work our nominees have been producing.” So much so that organizers are already taking registered interests for 2018.
Also announced was the judging panel that includes virtual reality experts such as Josh Naylor of Unity Technologies, Jenn Duong of Shiift, and CEO of Spiral Media Megan Gaiser. The complete list of judges can be found here.
Speaking with Josh Naylor from Unity Technologies about what he’ll be looking for when it comes to selecting in the category of VR experiences, “The best use of VR content for me is when it truly enhances an experience, something that is a thousand times more enriching to the user when in Virtual Reality compared to a flat 2D experience,” adding, “a product that immerses the user into a world and they forget about their physical surroundings.”
As for VR hardware, Naylor says, “I’m looking for something that allows the aforementioned content to reach its full potential whilst making itself as accessible as possible to consumers.”
Organizers of the 2017 VR Awards thought out each category very carefully to make sure the VR industry was properly represented during this night of recognition. Colaianni says “Our mission of being an inclusive awards body for the immersive sector spans far beyond just entertainment.” Along with categories that you would expect, such as gaming and entertainment, I was excited to see a category for VR education and training. An area of VR that I have personally done a lot of research on.
I reached out to Steve Bambury; Head of Digital Learning and Innovation at JESS Dubai, and asked him about his thoughts on VR education and training being recognized at the award ceremony.  He told me, “The inclusion of an award for Best use of VR in Education and Training is a clear indication that developers are starting to recognize the potential that VR offers beyond entertainment.”  He continues, “current students will grow up in a world that is permeated by VR on many levels so it’s important to introduce them to the concept.”
But enough with the category details, let’s dive right into the fun stuff, look at each category and see who made the nominee shortlist.
Something to note, all nominees had to be centered on a virtual reality experience, and not an augmented reality experience.
Nominees for VR Headset of the Year

HTC – Vive
Oculus – Rift
Razer – OSVR
Sony – Playstation VR
Starbreeze – StarVR

Nominees for Mobile Headset of the Year

Merge VR – Goggles
Google – Daydream View
Samsung – Gear VR
Homido – V2

Nominees for VR Hardware of the Year.

Somniacs – Birdly
Leap Motion – Leap Motion
Oculus – Touch
Nullspace VR – Hardlight Suit
Ultrahaptics – Ultrahaptics

Nominees for VR Game of the Year

Owlchemy Labs & Adult Swim Games – Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality
Epic Games – Robo Recall
Dylan Fitterer – Audioshield
Playful – Lucky’s Tale
Steel Crate Games – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
Survios – Raw Data
Tender Claws – Virtual Virtual Reality
Vertigo Games & Jaywalkers Interactive – Arizona Sunshine
Rebellion – Battlezone
Ready At Dawn – Lone Echo

Nominees for Innovative Company of the Year

Zero Latency
Technicolor Experience Center
G’Audio Lab
Merge VR
Jaunt VR

Nominees for Experience of the Year

WEVR – theBlu
Horizons Studio – Horizons VR
Against Gravity – Rec Room
Google – Tilt Brush
Google – Google Earth VR
Magnopus – Mission:ISS
BBC & REWIND – Home – A VR Spacewalk
Toast – Richie’s Plank Experience

Nominees for Most Creative use of Marketing in VR

Greenpeace – Virtual Explorer
Idea Studio – UNICEF 360
Ford Motor Company / GTB Agency – Ford F-150 Raptor: Born to Baja
Pebble Studios – ABC – ’Catch Jack’ Time after Time
Imagination & REWIND – Jaguar Electrifies – The Future Is Now
Kuju – The Chainsmokers: Paris VR
Framestore – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: VR
RSA VR – Alien: Covenant In Utero | A Virtual Reality Experience
Infinite360 – Capital Creates Change

Nominees for Interactive VR Media/Film of the Year

5th Wall – ‘The Mummy’ Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience
Google – Tabel
Baobab Studios – INVASION!
Penrose Studios – Allumette
Anotherworld VR – KOBOLD VR
Hver Sin Stilhed – Separate Silences

Nominees for VR Startup of the Year

Inception VR
Cerevrum Inc.

Nominees for Best use of VR in Education and Training

Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
Make Real – PROCAT
Leiceter Fire and Rescue Services – VF4-360
VirtualSpeech – VirtualSpeech
Boulevard Arts, Inc – Boulevard
Cerevrum Inc. – Skill Hub VR
Make Real – EDF Energy “Reactor Builder”
Industrial Training International – ITI Crane Simulator
Alchemy VR – Space Descent VR with Tim Peake

Nominees for Best use of VR in Healthcare

AiSolve – VRSIMS
Occo VR – Osso VR
Vivid Vision – Vivid Vision
Tribemix – ImmersiCare

Nominees for Best out of the home VR Experience

THE VOID – THE VOID’s Ghostbusters: Dimension
Universal Park & Resorts – The Repository
Thorpe Park Merlin Entertainment – Derren Brown’s Ghost Train
Zero Latency – Zero Latency
REWIND & Welsh National Opera – Magic Butterfly

There you go, that’s the VR Bound VR Awards shortlist for 2017.  Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Was there a VR experience or hardware that wasn’t listed that you feel should have been?

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