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New big name speakers including Sony and Bossa Studios added to line-up as national showcase prepares to explore world of virtual reality Sony and Bossa Studios will join Channel 4, Pinewood, The Imaginarium, Unity 3D and Alchemy VR at SouthWest VR Conference on Feb 24

Big names from the world of gaming and entertainment including Sony and Bossa Studios have joined the line-up of speakers for the upcoming SouthWest VR Conference, where a string of new innovations is set to be unveiled.


Dave Ranyard, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, London, and Henrique Olifiers, the Brazilian games designer and co-founder of Bossa Studios, will join Atlantic Productions’ Alchemy VR, Unity 3D, nDreams and Innerspace in the speaker line-up. Tickets for the event, which is set to throw a spotlight on the world of virtual reality in film, games, TV and animation, are close to selling out.


Official guests at the conference include Channel 4, Pinewood, Aardman, The Imaginarium and Yogscast. Meanwhile, the event will feature the launch of several new VR products with the potential to shake up the gaming industry, as well as many non-gaming spheres.


Dave Ranyard is studio director at Sony Computer Entertainment, London, and has worked on some of Sony’s only publicly-known VR projects such as The Deep and VR Luge for the firm’s closely guarded Project Morpheus virtual reality (VRhead-mounted display (HMD). Ranyard said: “I’m really looking forward to SouthWest VR – I think it’s going to be great to see different perspectives of people working in VR – and it really feels like a fantastic, grass roots event.”


Henrique Olifiers is gamer-in-chief of award-winning Bossa Studios, whose first game, Monstermind, was launched at the Eurogamer Expo 2011 and has since been nominated for two BAFTAs. Other new speakers include Duncan Burbidge, executive producer of pre-visualisation studio The Third Floor Inc; and Mark Washbrook and Paul Colls, of game development studio Fierce Kaiju.

SouthWest VR, organised by award-winning studio Opposable Games, will be held at the At-Bristol Science Centre in Bristol on February 24. SouthWest VR, which is to be hosted by renowned games journalist Will Freeman, is supported by Invest Bristol & Bath, Creative Skillset, the Digital Cultures Research Centre, Webstart Bristol, the Centre for Digital Entertainment, the BMT Group and Unity 3D.


Ben Trewhella, managing director at Opposable Games, said: “Right now we’re at the beginning of a hugely exciting time in technology – virtual reality and augmented reality games, experiences and applications are about to explode like the web, social and mobile before them. It’s incredibly exciting that so many producers, developers and engineers are choosing to come together in Bristol at the SouthWest VR conference.”

David Maher Roberts, creative and digital media specialist at Invest Bristol & Bath, said: “The Bristol and Bath region is home to a real hotbed of innovation, encompassing experimental games and interactive developers, established TV, film and animation producers, a thriving developer scene with some of the UK’s brightest mobile app developers, and a background of engineering and entrepreneurism in chip and product design.

“With this combination of skill sets, the region is well placed to capitalise on the huge opportunities advancements in virtual reality will bring, not just for gaming and entertainment, but across a vast array of applications including aerospace and advanced engineering, and architecture, to name just a few.”

SouthWest VR will be fundraising for UK charity GamesAid, which will be running a GamesAid Tenner collection. Attendees are asked to bring £10 with them to donate to GamesAid.

For more information, tickets and links to social media, visit www.southwestvr.com.

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