VR awards ceremonies are not a new concept but, now that the tech is finally available to consumers, it’s time to actually start paying attention to them. First up? The 2016 Webby Awards.
The winners for this year’s internet-focused awards have been announced ahead of a ceremony on May 17, and VR has a huge presence, taking up a total of four separate categories. These include ‘Cinematic or Pre-Rendered’, ‘Cinematic or Pre-Rendered (Branded)’, ‘Gaming, Interactive, or Real-Time’, and ‘Gaming, Interactive, or Real-Time (Branded)’. Each category has two awards: one voted for by the public and another selected by members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
In the ‘Cinematic or Pre-Rendered’ group it was Secret Location’s Orchestra VR that took home both prizes. The experience involves a 360 degree recording that immerses viewers in a performance from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. ‘Cinematic or Pre-Rendered (Branded)’, meanwhile, was split between Discovery Communications’ Discovery VR for the judge’s choice and UNIT9’s Stella Artois: Buy A Lady A Drink for the people’s choice. The former offers a wide range of 360 degree content via an app while the latter is part of the titular company’s charity efforts with Water.org.
For ‘Gaming, Interactive, or Real-Time’, Way to Go takes home the judges prize, again produced by UNIT9 and offering a surreal experience. The Unknown Photographer, a piece that displays memories of a World War I photographer, took home the people’s vote. Finally, the judge’s prize for ‘Gaming, Interactive, or Real-Time (Branded)’ was given to Cardboard Crash VR. Featured at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the app looks at the concept of self-driving cars and their ethics. The people’s vote was given to Target Creative’s House on the Hallow Hill, used to promote Halloween merchandise.
Each winner will be giving one of the Webby Awards’ famous five-word acceptance speeches on May 17th. But it’s not just the winners to take into account: there are a massive list of nominees that prove just how much VR has grown outside of gaming in the past year. There’s experiences from Digital Domain like The Neymar Jr. Effect, and Gentleman Scholar’s storytelling/game hybrid, Truffle Pig. 2016’s Webby Awards are a strong representation of the diversity of VR – imagine where it will be next year.