The VRLA Winter Expo will take place this Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The day-long event is expected to be the largest in VRLA history, according to event founder Cosmo Scharf.
“Our last event had about 2,000 people and that was in August,” Scharf said in an interview with UploadVR. “The event before that had 1,500 and previous to that we were at 500. But this whole thing began as a meetup around 2 years ago with only about 100 people.”
Scharf sees the growth of his expo as being indicative of the growth of the industry and this year the show will play host to a projected 3,000 visitors and 71 confirmed exhibitors. It will also feature keynotes that may bring major announcements. Roy Taylor of chip-maker AMD kicks off the keynotes at 12:25 PST followed by Survios, Crytek and then Starbreeze, which is the company behind the ultra-wide field of view StarVR headset.
“I’m particularly excited that the guys from Survios will be coming this year,” Scharf said. “They’ve basically been in stealth mode and they’ll finally be surfacing to reveal their first game in a long time.”
Survios VP of marketing Matt Liszt was able to shed some light on what exactly this mystery game is going to be. According to Liszt, Survios will be unveiling new parts of a co-op experience at VRLA. Two players (in two separate Vive Pre headsets) will enter a shared virtual space and play together in real-time. The VRLA demo will have players fending off waves of enemies coming at them. They will also be expanding the demo to include four players — in two separate co-op experiences — during an after-party event on Saturday evening which will be live-streamed on Twitch.
“We want to showcase our vision for the kind of active VR experience we believe in,” Liszt said.
Liszt said the title of the game and more details will be revealed at the show. It’s unknown whether the experience will be released as a product or if it’s merely a tech demo.
Survios is a VR studio that got into the industry relatively early. In 2012 the founders launched Project: Holodeck at USC in an effort to pull together the best minds in development and tackle some of early VR’s biggest issues. This led to the release of their first demo in 2013 (Wild Skies) as well as Zombies of the Holodeck, with Survios coming together in 2014. The startup received $4 million in VC investment in 2014. The VRLA co-op demo will be the first peek into what the company has been working on since then.
VRLA will have a full schedule and will be an opportunity for VR companies to showcase their technologies at the cusp of the launch of highly anticipated consumer VR platforms. HTC will be bringing the new Vive Pre headsets for people to try, NVIDIA is expected to showcase light field displays, and there will be several high-profile experiences at the show such as Crytek’s The Climb and 505 Games’ Adrift.
Space for the most in-demand demos at VRLA will be highly limited. Attendees hoping to experience the demo of their choice should download and register through the expo’s Guestbook app once it goes live on Thursday morning.
Despite the excitement surrounding the upcoming expo, Scharf and his team are already working to prepare the next one.
“We’re not ready to announce anything concrete for our next show but we do know we will be back at the LACC,” Scharf said. “We’re thinking it will be in August and it’s going to be really big. Like giant.”