Virtual reality seems to be everywhere in the news these days. Most of the content and the news we see are in English, but now the Spanish-speaking world isn’t far behind.
Last month, more than 1,200 people participated in VR Fest MX, Mexico’s first international virtual reality festival, the first of its kind in Latin America and Spain.
VR Fest MX spanned 5 days and included a VR Fest Kids, VR Fest Forum with panels and fireside chats and VR Fest MX, the main event with 12 talks and panels and over 20 VR experiences. Mattel used the event to unveil its VR View-Master in Mexico, while Samsung and Unity were also some of the event’s main sponsors.
Speakers included Jason Gurvitz and Jordan Marinov, the American filmmakers behind the Hidden Tears Project, a VR series that seeks to bring light to the issue of child trafficking and use next generation technology for social impact.
Nicolas Alcalá, a well known VR pioneer who crowdfunded his first film project, The Cosmonaut by raising over $500,000 from 5,000 people, also took the stage. Alcalá has become a staple in the Spanish-speaking VR world. He’s currently in the process of moving to LA to set up offices for his new venture Future Lighthouse, which is based in Madrid, Spain.
“VR in the Spanish-speaking community is growing, but it’s not as huge as it is in North America. That’s why it’s important for us to get together to experiment and share our knowledge.Events like these are fantastic for knowledge sharing. I haven’t seen an event like this one in Spanish, not even in Spain ” said Alcala in Mexico City.
If you look at the numbers, VR is ripe for growth in Latin America. With Spanish being the second most spoken language in the world and Portuguese the 8th, as VR gets closer to going mainstream, reaching this market will be a huge market for brands and content creators. Latin America has a population of approximately 630 million people, and there is a well documented growth of the tech boom in the region, as well as greater connectivity and an emphasis in STEM education to support competitivity.
While the hardware is universal, there will ultimately be a need for content in Spanish or Portuguese and some content will need to eventually have cultural fluency.
They hope to grow to double or triple the size for next year’s VR Fest MX.