Game On: Shaking Up the Gaming Experience at XR Connects

Immersion’s Business Development Lead for Gaming, Bob Heubel, recently attended PocketGamer’s XR Connects and talks about the event and what it was like to be a judge for the VR Indie Pitch.

This year I had the pleasure of attending XR Connects Helsinki, a show that brings together experts from across the virtual, augmented and mixed reality industry. I regularly attend industry events to hear about what game developers are working on and to show Immersion’s latest developments in gaming haptics. This year, I also had the honor of being a judge for the event’s VR Indie Pitch, a pitching competition for independent developers working on virtual reality games for any platform. The unique speed dating format gave each developer ten minutes with the judges, which allowed us to get a taste for each game and provide real-time feedback.

From Catland Studio’s Taphouse VR serving up drinks in a pub to Dodreams’ Drive Ahead! Mini Golf AR game that lets you play multiplayer mini-golf in your own living room, the games were diverse and the experience for the judges was unique, to say the least. As a fellow gamer, it’s exciting to have a front-row seat to some of the most innovative games coming out of the VR space. Here’s a taste of what we saw:

  • Puzzle games were popular! House of Fables offered up a train puzzle game called Trains VR. Impact Unified created a mobile VR murder mystery called “A Most Curious Murder” for us to investigate.
  • Sporting events made for popular submissions! Avrlon VR Studio showed Elemental Combat, a multiplayer eSports title. Iceflake Studios demonstrated Ice Lakes, an ice fishing game with multiple locations and fishing options. Neo Wave Games/Rising Fun Games were showing their Let’s Bowl VR, letting you bowl alone or with friends in other locations.
  • And then there was the really creative! Lucky You Studio presented an early prototype of the most creative use of VR controllers in a game we’ve ever seen. Visible Realms showed a very cute Cat ‘S’ Trophy competitive cat racing game. Critical Lit Games made an AR book called Coming Home that combines a real book with an AR interface.

After a lot of consideration by the judges around originality, replayability, and just plain fun, Dodreams took first place for their Drive Ahead! Mini Golf AR game. The lucky top three winners scored marketing dollars to help them on their way to commercial success. You can see a full list of winners here and read more about how the judges approached the competition The possibilities for VR games have come a long way in recent years, which makes the work we do at Immersion with haptic development easier and even more relevant for the VR gaming industry.