Two-Day VRX Conference & Expo Packed With Real Knowledge on Virtual Reality


More than 450 attendees, 80-plus speakers and 17 exhibitors were on hand for the 5th annual VRX Conference & Expo in San Francisco last week (Dec. 12-13) to learn and speak about XR and show off their virtual, augmented and mixed reality products.

The first day of the event, which we wrote about here, featured high-level discussions in seminars that covered the entirety of the XR industry.

On Day 2, attendees were able to hear from expert speakers in specified tracks – like the ones we were most interested in… location-based entertainment and consumer gaming.

Zero Latency’s vice president of business development Phil Martin led an interesting presentation about where the VR industry is – from his perspective – and what operators in the space ought to be thinking about.

Zero Latency’s Phil Martin made three key points about attracting a core VR audience: 1. Focus on replayability and motivate players to do so, 2. Inspire players to tell others about their experience and 3. Encourage enthusiasts.

A few notes from Martin: 1. Focus on replayability and motivate players to do so, 2. Inspire players to tell others about their experience and 3. Encourage enthusiasts. It’s a lot easier, he said, if locations can get one person to visit 12 times a year than finding 12 people to visit once a year. Martin also mentioned that 74 percent of Zero Latency players are referrals.

Another interesting point that persisted during the event – virtual reality hasn’t yet reached a critical mass. Most people still haven’t even tried it.

“The real challenge is taking VR mainstream,” Martin explained. “We want to bring this experience to everyone.” He continued to say that it needs to be a part of the culture – just another “something” you can do on a Friday night in the same way that people suggest going bowling, to a bar or go-karting.

During a VR esports panel, Chanel Summers, vice president of creative development at VRstudios, discussed the medium in ways that the coin-op industry would talk about billiards and darts.

Ryan Burningham (CEO and founder of Virtualities), Chanel Summers (vice president of creative development at VRstudios) and panel moderator Anne McKinnon (VR/AR consultant at The Boolean) discuss what VR esports tells us about the wider VR games community.

“It’s all about competition,” Summers said of VR esports. “Anything that has a score, is built for league and tournament play, can create a community and belonging, and be social – that’s an esports experience.” She added that having a group of spectators is another characteristic.

RePlay has its annual directory issue coming out in January, but keep your eyes peeled for further, more detailed coverage of the event in our February issue. (Can you believe it’s almost 2020?!) Learn more about future XR events, such as XR Europe 2020 (April 28-29 in London) and XR Immersive Enterprise 2020 (May 5-6 in Boston), at


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