In the wake of growing concerns about the global spread of the coronavirus, a number of conferences and expos in the gaming industry have been postponed or cancelled altogether. However, the organisers of the HTC Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC)—which is usually held in Shenzhen, China—have taken a slightly different approach: for 2020, they'll be hosting their conference entirely in virtual reality.
#V2EC: As industry events are being cancelled WW, we’ll hold the world’s first fully #virtual industry #conference in #VR! 3/19 via #Engage. Access in 6DoF VR or live stream on 🖥💻📱. Top speakers+amazing conf experience!🦄 Zero carbon🌏, zero travel🛫& no 😷 needed! @htcvive pic.twitter.com/OqLOVB6QwJMarch 6, 2020
Restyled as the Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (V2EC), the event will be going ahead on March 19, and will be taking place within Engage, the virtual reality training platform developed by Immersive VR Education. Attendees will be tuning in remotely, either via VR headset or by viewing a livestream on a monitor.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances behind the change in venue, China President at HTC Alvin Wang Graylin has been quick to point out the unique benefits of the new arrangement, including the possible removal of attendance limits on keynote talks and the option for attendees to replay sessions they miss live.
This practical demonstration of the usefulness of the Vive technology in helping to maintain global communication, especially at a time when physical travel is unusually difficult, may well end up paving the way for other industry events to be moved to virtual reality in the future.
Official online registration for the conference opened on March 10, and will close on March 17.