Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences announce their 2017 Nomination for New Immersive Reality Awards

Virtual Reality is to be represented with two awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences it was announced. The categories, to be introduced at the 2017 D.I.C.E. Awards have been made in order to celebrate new technology platforms for games in what it terms ‘immersive reality’ and to celebrate games that take full advantage.

The awards, for Immersive Reality Game of the Year and Immersive Reality Technical Achievement, are to celebrate the very best in virtual reality gaming, from both a technical and more general perspective.

Currently there is a lot of overlap in both categories, and in total only six VR experiences are represented at the awards. The fact that virtual reality is represented at one of the biggest award shows for computer games however, is a clear statement of purpose. It is a sign that Virtual Reality is no longer a vision of the future but the start of an industry growing in leaps and bounds.

The D.I.C.E. Awards Nominees

Immersive Reality Game of the Year

Eagle Flight (Ubisoft, FunHouse)

I Expect You to Die (Schell Games)

Job Simulator (Owlchemy Labs)

The Lab (Valve)

Superhot VR (SUPERHOT Sp. z. o. o.)

Immersive Reality Technical Achievement

Eagle Flight (Ubisoft, FunHouse)

I Expect You to Die (Schell Games)

Job Simulator (Owlchemy Labs)

Superhot VR (SUPERHOT Sp. z. o. o.)

Tilt Brush (Google)

Breakdown

Eagle Flight

Ubisoft Montreal’s first foray into the world of Virtual Reality is a refreshingly unique affair. Rather than a piecemeal adaptation of one of their many licenses, Ubisoft opted for refreshing simplicity. This is very much to their credit. Flying through the air using head tracking and tilting is surprisingly intuitive and while the game is limited in content, especially given its £30 recommended retail price, any game that manages to do high speed, high altitude thrills without falling into classic motion sickness traps is worthy of nomination.

I Expect You to Die

Silly Simulators are perfect for VR, and the only think that could improve them is basing them on equally campy espionage. I Expect You to Die, for Oculus and PSVR, manages to take a genre dominated by Surgeon Simulator and its legions of imitators and through the wonder of crazy bond villain traps, creates some unique and brilliant VR experiences. The mad scientist has been supplanted by the superspy.

Job Simulator

One of the most successful Virtual Reality games so far, Owlchemy Labs’ one-hundred percent realistic portrayal of employed life has already generated a lot of buzz and award nominations. Much has been said about the level of interaction and number of things that can be done through the system, but Job Simulator is the benchmark for how to make a touch based game in VR.

The Lab

This was a triumph. Valve’s tech demo for SteamVR succeeded in showing off the technology in the same way a lot of Nintendo’s launch titles succeed. There is so much to do, from the more mundane games of fetch with a robot dog, to archery, “virtual postcards” that let you look at various photorealistic vistas, to even a room scale arcade shooter, along with the usual bits of physics based destruction that Valve do very well.

Superhot VR

Superhot in both regular and VR forms is a triumph of innovation. It managed to create a wholly novel experience by changing just one feature of the FPS genre.. By making it so time moves as the player does, there’s all sorts of extra challenges, thrills and experience that can be designed. Superhot VR in particular was built with current limitations of VR in mind and as a result is one of the best VR games out there.

Tilt Brush

The final nominee is the only one that is not a game, although the level of fun that comes from drawing in 3D cannot be overstated. Google’s high end drawing tool is just as innovative, just as astonishing and just as much a game changer as the other five nominees, and shows the potential for just what VR can provide in the future for the creative industries. Imagine the potential for 3D design, architecture, even Pictionary. As close to a killer app as VR has.

Are there any nominees you think D.I.C.E. missed from the awards? Who are your picks to win? Let us know in the comments section below.

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