Industry news

VR headsets – Ready, set, go!
Last month saw the mass release of the first consumer versions of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR. Having taken decades to get to this point, this months release is the start of a long race to see if VR can and will be biggest thing since the simple CD-ROM. The current limitations of the technology have got to be considered; can you truly tell stories with VR, or is it restricted to only transporting the viewer to a time and place. Only time will tell how it will be used in practice across gaming and filmmaking.

Awards Season – Is the big budget VFX Blockbuster losing its appeal?
This awards season we saw the smaller budget Ex-Machina win for best Visual Effects. This wasn’t one of the biggest names or even one of the films that saw mass revenue driven into it to ensure an ‘Oscar’ nod, so why did it win?
Perhaps quite simply the Academy saw something different. The VFX used in the film is mostly invisible, in the creation of Ava the VFX is subtle, masterful and is used to create a visually believable character. This was miles apart from the other big ‘VFX’ blockbusters also up for the award, such as The Martian and Star Wars, which used big-budget effects, so is this genre losing its appeal? We saw films with a huge financial investment on effects such as In the Heart of the Sea, cast out from the ballot completely despite the initial hype, so is this a change we are likely to see continue, as we return to a focus on realism, and start looking at what isn’t there instead of what is?

Round up of GDC news
This years GDC was all about one thing, VR. The conference saw news focused around the launch of the new VR headsets and also a review of content, with the Assassin's Creed VR experience being announced and Oculus Rift taking time to showcase a range of new games coming to its hardware. It’s clear that VR is here to stay and we will be seeing this theme replicated across most of the industry conferences throughout the year.

Apprenticeship Levy – friend or foe?
Since the UK Government introduced the apprenticeship levy, with the aim to launch 3 million new work and learn schemes by 2020 the question has been where is this leading and how as an industry can we prepare for it? At Escape Studios we are firmly committed to the concept of connecting the classroom with industry, and helping to build the technical skills that are needed for jobs in our industry. We believe in working with studios from the ground up to ensure we are catering and sourcing the best talent out there, and teaching them in the right way. With these apprenticeships we will have to work harder at this, engaging with this younger audience who may not have as much experience, we need to ensure as an industry we are catering to the up and coming technology and processes that are our future and nurturing the next generation of British talent.

As part of Pearson College London, the only FTSE100 education provider, we are well placed to advise on how studios can make the most of the opportunities created by the new apprenticeships schemes. You can find out more here