February 1, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
An Exploration of the Virtual Reality Industry
By Bethany Read, English student
As someone who is by no means set on a future career path, I am always interested in exploring new and exciting options. So when I saw that the Careers and Employability Service was offering a Spotlight On event about creative careers in media and virtual reality (VR), I was most definitely intrigued.
What is VR?
VR is a computer-generated simulation that mimics real life experiences by allowing participants to interact with a virtual environment. Due to society’s increased reliance on AI and automatised systems it comes as no surprise that the VR industry is on an upward trajectory. In fact, according to a trend report by Grand View Research, it is currently valued at 15.18 billion USD.
Do I have to be a computer expert?
Before partaking in the event, I had a vague knowledge of VR and its use in video games. However, the event speakers introduced a side to the industry that I was completely unaware of. They confirmed that there is no need to be ‘techy’ to pursue VR as a career. In fact, many of the speakers had combined their love of computers with an interest in theatre and television. As much as the industry relies on its developers, there are also a number of marketing, creative and managerial positions available too.
Can VR be creative?
During the event I was introduced to a number of creative projects that test the boundaries of the digital world. For example, the SURGE experience produced by the Tom Dale Company and staged at Lakeside Arts, highlights the connection between theatre, dance and technological interaction. I also had the pleasure of listening to Alex Rühl speak about the budding VR film industry. Her production studio, CATS are not PEAS (I never found out the reasoning behind the name!), created a short VR film entitled Keyed Alike. This critically acclaimed queer love story, starring renowned actress Gemma Wheelan, was the first of its kind in the VR industry. It is proof that VR can encourage self-expression and innovation.
VR and the future
Overall, I found this careers event to be an eye opening experience. I discovered there is so much more to VR than just video games. It is a highly relevant and rapidly expanding industry that has the power to influence our world as we perceive it. For example, Facebook’s rebrand to Meta emphasises the increasing likelihood of a future encompassed by VR. I now understand the scope and flexibility of the industry, which proves how far developers have progressed, as well as how exciting a VR-based future will be for generations to come.
Visit the Careers website to explore emerging careers in science and technology.
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