UK-based Make Real’s new VR project gives users a first-hand experience of discrimination and exclusion in the workplace.
D&I Perspectives is built by the studio’s R&D team, The Drawing Board, and subjects users to several real-life accounts of certain difficulties people encounter in an office environment. Cast as an employee, you face different scenarios in which colleagues and bosses, brought into VR via live-action camera capture, place you in difficult situations. Crucially, the app asks users to consider how these situations and issues within a person’s life, either invisible or otherwise, could affect a co-worker’s happiness and comfort. Check out the trailer below.
After the VR experience, the app reveals four real stories that helped assemble the experience. Though built with low-cost technologies, the experience is an effective way of bringing more traditional training materials into a new era, and the personal touch that VR affords helps you to better relate to the issues the app rasies. Make Real Immersive Partnerships Director Sam Watts told me that the company wanted to “explore ways to enhance one of the current key areas of soft-skills training” after seeing success in other VR training services.
Watts explained that diversity, equality & inclusion are “important to us as a studio in terms of how we hire and support the VR industry, working with groups to enable pathways in for under-represented individuals to ensure there is a wide set of voices and creators in the emerging medium of VR. Following on from our own studies and those covered in depth elsewhere, VR is a perfect fit for soft-skills training and raising awareness of situations that users may not have knowledge or experience of.”
Make Real sees the experience being deployed to companies as part of wider training programs. Alongside the Oculus Quest version, there’s also a WebXR edition that allows the experience to be viewed on low-cost headsets. “By allowing users to experience life in the shoes of others, we see it as being a powerful tool to make us all better people by enabling us all to communicate and treat each other with respect and kindness,” Watts said.