Creative agency DRPG on how to use gaming tech without falling into the trap of the ’gimmick’

Virtual events

Virtual experiences, virtual environments and even virtual worlds have come to the fore during the pandemic.

In the hands of the inexperienced, this kind of technology can become a short-term fad. It’s all the rage for a while, but then quickly discarded in favour of the next shiny new trend. Audiences start to see the use of such tech as a gimmick, or much worse a distraction. This should not be the case for this trend, which when used properly has the potential to completely change the face of events.

Here are just some ideas to bear in mind when integrating Unreal Engine into your events, to achieve longevity as well as that short-term wow-factor:

Be creative

One of the biggest things to factor in when looking to use this technology to create successful virtual events is to avoid using it to recreate or mimic live events. The sky’s the limit when it comes to creativity when using a platform like Unreal Engine, so you need to push the boundaries. Why bend this tech to make your virtual venue look like a studio or an auditorium? If you want a theatre, go and film in a theatre. Use this tech to create something new and something that wasn’t previously possible.

Address all areas

By integrating the delegate registration process, you can blend it seamlessly with the event experience. The end goal is that tech soon becomes invisible and it just becomes a world that the delegate enters. Much like you don’t wonder how people build a live venue, your end goal should be that people will get over the wow-factor of the tech as it becomes part of the experience.

Virtual world

Content led

It’s the way tech is used that makes it effective. XR needs to be underpinned by an imaginative, interesting creative and valuable, engaging content that takes the viewers on a journey that they want to be part of. Audiences are becoming less and less tolerant of second rate content and it is no use trying to distract them with a shiny environment if the content has no substance. They won’t be fooled for long. The best way to avoid this common pitfall is to continuously ask why. Why are you using the new tech? What is the message and how can the tech support it?

It is interesting to note that this trend is not just happening because of Covid. This bleeding of innovation from one industry to another was always going to happen. The pandemic and the race for virtual supremacy has just accelerated the demand. While some of the uses of the tech may fall by the wayside, the tech itself is strong enough to achieve longevity if used in the correct way and supported by strong content. Those that get comfortable and clever with Unreal will reap the rewards.

By Jonathan Hyde, video technical lead at DRPG and Peter Richards, motion graphics art director at DRPG.