March is Women’s History Month, and with International Women’s Day coming up on March 8, we wanted to help the VR community celebrate. Today, we’re highlighting women VR devs and the content they’ve helped create, followed by a look at some of our favorite games and experiences that feature women front-and-center!
In Her Words: “Media transforms perspectives—and VR even more so because you feel like what you see is real or you can walk in someone else’s shoes. When you see yourself represented fairly in mainstream media, you feel like your perspective matters. I know I felt this way when I first saw Fresh Off the Boat. I felt empowered and that I mattered to America. Crow: The Legend is about both self-sacrifice for the community and diversity. It was important that we cast a diverse cast of women and minorities to share this Native American legend with the world. We are honored that talents such as John Legend, Oprah, Constance Wu, and Diego Luna—who are vocal supporters of their own underrepresented groups—lent their voice to this story.”
In Her Words: “I feel quite privileged to be in the VR area with an absolute belief that this is the next “black swan,” and it’s even more exciting that it’s still not evident to everyone on the planet. We’re at a stage when all companies in VR are joining the efforts to evangelize the value and all the benefits this technology brings to people. This community is very supportive and open. Be active and ask questions, share your work, get in touch with colleagues and developers. Everything is in our hands.”
Check Out: Tvori on Rift
In Her Words: “VR and immersive technologies are still maturing—that means it’s a great opportunity for women and men to get involved at the same level and in the same capacity. I think it’s really exciting to jump into this new era of computing, where the human-centered approach plays a big role in the experiences that are created. VR is hungry for interesting deep experiences, so get to work! Just make sure you’re constantly considering the spatial element and that you’re pushing interactions and interfaces to the limit, proposing new ideas instead of bringing legacy behaviors from the 2D experiences we’re all so used to interacting with.”
Check Out: Gravity Sketch on Rift
In Her Words: “Break a Leg is the concretization of months of R&D in creating new processes, iterating on tools, and balancing story world, gameplay, and theatrics. We all learned a lot as immersive creators and are currently working on a high-end version of the experience that supports two controllers. One of the highlights was seeing the comments of real magicians who would feel so emotional playing through the story. With VR, nothing beats seeing people’s reactions live—it’s priceless. Our team is primarily women, and everyone comes from all over the world, which is super exciting. A great team is everything!”
In Her Words: “It was a great opportunity to be one of the first teams to explore a new medium with Fantastic Contraption. VR has the potential to be radically different from other mediums we’ve worked with, so we tried to keep our preconceived ideas at the door while designing the interactions in this game. There’s a pressure to conform when making games in an established genre, but with VR, we can be pioneers again.”
Check Out: Fantastic Contraption on Rift
In Her Words: "The original Nature Treks idea was seeded around 2010 when I worked in the care industry—over the past eight years, the experience has evolved into something I feel truly proud to be part of. VR has turned out to be the perfect technology for the concept, quite coincidentally really, so seeing that original vision blossom and having the positive impact I always had hoped has been the best experience for me. We’re already working on a project that expands upon the fundamental concept of the Nature Treks experience. Animal AI is one of the areas where we’ve made some really interesting progress recently. It’s important that our worlds feel alive and dynamic and that the user’s experience is unique with each session. Perhaps the future plans closest to my heart have to do with making a real, positive difference in people’s lives. I’m speaking and working with several organizations with regards to experiences that would be of value in immersive health. I think the seed of Nature Treks still has plenty of room to continue to grow."
In Her Words: “Being in the field of VR means that I can bring control over my narrative. I can add a more balanced perspective (and solutions!) to the narratives that will be made around my identity—most likely from those who may not have a full understanding of what that means. My contribution to the industry is lending my unique experience in society (as a first-generation women of color) to help inspire, shape, and expand thinking around the possibilities of VR. Don’t wait for the opportunity to make your ideas come to life. Start right now with what you have. Use all the free resources you can online to just start creating, no matter how small. If you commit to the process, the opportunities will find you to help see it through.”
Check Out: Teacher’s Lens Beta on Rift
In Her Words: “It’s a phenomenal moment to be a woman in the VR field. Women are leading in this emerging space—directors, producers, artists, technologists, founders of companies, etc. That means women are shaping and building the industry, the culture, and the type of stories that are being told. That is critically important. What other tech industry is being led or is even equally represented by women? It’s an honor to be featured with such a talented group of pioneering creators.”
In Her Words: “Fountain Digital Labs has not only a woman CEO (i.e. me) but also a woman head of product, head of production, head of digital marketing, and even psychologists and editors—yes, quite a few women in our lively startup! Our interactive director, CTO, and developers are men, so I believe we’ve created a very healthy balance with women guiding the way. Gender should not define someone’s presence and success in any industry.”
From deep space sci-fi to real-world labs, representation matters. Here are some highlights of the games and experiences paving the way for women in VR:
— The Oculus Team