Virtual dominance at Develop

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The annual Develop conference took place in Brighton from 12-14 July and there was no doubt about the technology that dominated the agenda.

If you’d created a Word Cloud based on seminars, presentations and chatter round the venue, it would have been 144pt for VIRTUAL REALITY and something sponsored by spec savers for pretty much everything else.

As The Guardian’s round-up put it: “VR dominated to such an extent that it was sometimes hard to find a non-VR talk to attend”, although it did concede that plenty of other topics got some air time round the fringes, including the continued rise of indie studios, incremental console updates and the future of mobile TV.

Mainly though, it was all about you know what. Event director Andy Lane says: “Throughout the history of Develop, themes, trends and talking points have always emerged during the conference, giving all of us a better understanding of the industry’s current frame of mind. Never before though, I don’t think, has one topic been so dominant and so discussed as it was this time round. This was the Virtual Reality Develop. Not to the exclusion of everything else, of course – but there was definitely a gap between VR and the next item on the agenda.

“The themes within the theme were of VR as a social and collaborative technology, as well as the route to mass market. The subsequent media coverage certainly reflected the impression we all got at the show, and put across the sense of excitement and opportunity at what we saw and heard.

“On the last day, of course, VR wasn’t the only game in town, as Pokemon Go hit Brighton and the talk turned to Augmented rather than Virtual Reality. It had taken something seismic to shift the tone and topic of conversation, but not even the arrival of Pikachu and chums could change the lasting impression that Develop 2016 was all about VR, and that Develop 2017 might well follow suit.”

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