VRLA Expo 2017: Bigger, Bolder, and Brighter

VRLA is the biggest conference of its kind in the world—and the Spring 2017 Expo on April 14 and 15 was the grandest outing yet.

It’s safe to say there’s no conference quite like VRLA. Part industry event and part fancon, VRLA is a place where seasoned veterans can catch up on their latest updates while newcomers experience VR for the first time.

Situated in Los Angeles, an undisputed international epicenter of the VR industry, VRLA is always something of a bellwether when it comes to VR trends—solidifying what’s been emerging over the past few months, and setting the stage for the great new innovations on the way.


This year, two hot trends we spotted were Mixed Reality (MR) and the surge of wild new out-of-home installation work. In honor of Easter, AfterNow and FLARB put on an MR egg hunt via Microsoft HoloLens. Hado, by Meleap, let audiences digitally duke it out with friends and strangers. Exit Reality teamed up with Flipside to let attendees make their own animations using VR. ROM Extraction displayed gameplay using MR to show audiences exactly the kind of strategy-oriented shooter players were going through. The line to give Ion Torq’s MR ATVs a run consistently stretched around the corner. Intel, StarVR, and Infinadeck each gave attendees a taste of the kind of massive scale VR will take in the coming years.

And last but certainly not least: in addition to a series of discussions led by the tireless Malia Probst, our VRLA Live activation featured Mixed Reality art being made in real time—including this dress by Angela Haddad, this special doggie gift by Wesley Allsbrook, this lush landscape with our logo by George Peaslee, and this undefinable monster compliments of the Titmouse team as part of Tiltsquisit. The activation, which broadcast live from noon-6pm both days of VRLA, wouldn’t have been possible without our friends at:

Speaking of art: VR art also continued to captivate audiences at the Visionary Art Zone, with highlights like Kevin Mack’s Zen Parade (via Shape Space VR). And just around the corner, Microdose VR gave attendees the chance to bring their synesthetic music-visions to life. In other VRLA news: Mindshow announced their open beta for Q3 of this year, we got to catch the debut of Adam Cosco’s Rose Colored via INVAR Studios, and Justin Roiland’s keynote was about as zany and hilarious as you’d expect.

At the end of the day, there was way too much amazing stuff to cover all of it; you’ll just have to make sure you make it to the Fall 2017 Expo and see it out for yourself!

About the Scout

Jesse Damiani

Jesse Damiani is Editor-at-Large of VRScout and Deputy Director of Emerging Technology at Southern New Hampshire University. He's also Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University Press) and the author of @endless$pectator: The Screens Suite #loliloquy (BlazeVOX, 2017). Other writing can be found on Adweek, Billboard, Forbes, Quartz, and The Verge.

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