Virtual reality a dominant theme at SXSW Interactive

The insider's guide to SXSW Interactive.

We’re in the year when Virtual-reality products such as Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive headsets are reaching the market and game developers and filmmakers in particular are experimenting like crazy in these promising new mediums while Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others are betting big on the tech.

The most prominent such event at this year’s fest will be the VR/AR Track and Experience, what the festival is billing as a three-day collection of panels and an exposition under the “Convergence” label, which means all badgeholders will have access to the March 16-18 events.

A SXSW schedule search for “Virtual reality” yields about 252 results, from panels to events across Interactive, Music and Film, many of them taking place outside the VR/AR Track timeframe.

A 12:30 p.m. March 13 presentation from UT Austin’s Moody College of Communication will feature virtual-reality content from The Washington Post at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live.

Other panels explore whether virtual reality will be revolutionary in sports training, storytelling, fashion and even wildlife conservation.

You can also expect lots of VR outside of the festival itself. Samsung is planning a GearVR demo area at its Samsung Studio on 333 E. 2nd St. and a second-annual AR/AR unofficial event happens March 13 at Vuka on 411 W. Monroe.