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Immersive Partnerships Director at Make Real, living the VR life — follow me on Twitter @vr_sam

(Last updated: 17th September 2021)

I am Sam Watts, Immersive Partnerships Director at Make Real in Brighton, UK. We create and make exciting xR (VR/AR/MR) experiences that bring Serious Fun™️ to learning & development, training and simulations. We also make immersive entertainment products for in- and out-of-home installations.

Clients and partners include EDF Energy, Lloyds Banking Group and Vodafone, to name a few, deploying applications in the areas of health & safety, maintenance, utilities, construction, and more. We also create consumer gaming products and location-based experiences for the out-of-home sector.

Our first self-published, studio-developed game, Loco Dojo featuring Brian Blessed

Look at all the plastic crap!

With the latest mobile phone handset releases, this year has seen Samsung and Google officially withdraw support for their mobile VR headsets, the Gear VR and Daydream View VR respectively. These headsets lead the way for mid-level mobile VR, allowing users to slot their phones into the headset to provide adequate VR experiences. However compared to full VR systems, these were limited by their functionality and 3DoF input and tracking.

A Brief History…

In early 2018 I was fortunate enough to meet Paul, who runs the local charity in the Brighton area called “Stay Up Late”, a small grassroots organisation promoting the right for people with learning disabilities to have a choice about how they live their lives.

The Seed of an Idea

We got talking about how we could use immersive technology, specifically 360° film viewed through Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, to benefit the Stay Up Late members in regards to attending events and gigs at local venues.

We wanted to explore whether the ability to view a venue virtually in VR would increase social confidence within…

I recently signed-up for and got access to the new Google Earth Studio web-based animation tool for Google Earth. It’s pretty cool, anyone can sign-up and hopefully get access to.

With my limited experience of animation, I’ve struggled with the main features and have so far mostly just been playing around with their 5 preset animations where the hard work is done for you.

OK OK, first things first, I know what you’re thinking and I admit I had some doubts at first but never one to turn down an opportunity to talk about and demo VR to people, I was intrigued as to how it would work; blind people in VR!? That sounds like a crazy stupid idea, right? Wrong…

Visits to the members centre

Twice in 2018 I was invited to visit the Blind Veterans UK centre just outside of Brighton, UK. The Blind Veterans UK is a British charity, providing free support and services to vision-impaired ex-Armed Forces and National Service personnel. Many of the members…

It’s that time of year again when we look back to the start of what is now the dumpster fire year 2018, when it was all fresh and full of hope and glory (we still have Trump and Brexit — here’s hoping 2019 sees them both removed).

At the start of the year I set out some predictions for VR and AR; I’ve already carried out a mid-year review of these, pt.1 here and pt. 2 here. …

Following on from Halfway Review (Pt.1), let’s get cracking with Pt.2.

Prediction #11: Xbox One X support for Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality headsets will be announced at either CES or GDC in 2018.

_-_-_ Quite the opposite! Despite early suggestions, Microsoft have apparently quietly dropped plans to bring VR support to Xbox One [X], at least for now.

Prediction #12: “Ready Player One” movie will be lauded by the VR community but will be considered a financial flop by Hollywood standards.

_-_-_ Well the VR community and film pundits are fairly Marmite on the film, with it either being The…

At the start of the year I listed some predictions of what would happen within the world of xR this year. Let’s take a midway quick review of those to tally up progress, starting with predictions #1–10.

Prediction #1: Oculus will release the Oculus Go in early 2018, offering an all-in-one 3DoF mobile VR and controller unit at low cost. It will sell well.

+++ OK so I slightly cheated with this one as we were developing a launch title, so I knew when it was scheduled for release but it actually ended up being later than expected, and just…

So I wrapped up 2017 looking back at my previous predictions for the year; time to throw some predictions for VR and AR in 2018 out there.

Some will be obvious, easy-wins, some will be far greater stretches of the imagination or plausibility but you never know with this industry, right?

Without further ado, in no particular order of importance and likelihood:

Prediction #1: Oculus will release the Oculus Go in early 2018, offering an all-in-one 3DoF mobile VR and controller unit at low cost. It will sell well.

Prediction #2: Magic Leap will release the Magic Leap One Creator…

This time last year, as is the way, I wrote up my review of 2016 and 2017 predictions as to what would happen in the world of VR and AR. Let’s take a look at how those predictions turned out and whether it’s worthwhile trying to predict what’s going to happen in 2018…

Prediction 1: AR will become more relevant for commercial enterprise with viable hardware for non-gaming use in the workplace (+)

Analysts have long predicted that AR will dwarf VR in terms of market size in the near future but we can see that the hardware still has…

Sam Watts

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