Virtual Reality's Awards Ceremony

The Proto Awards, virtual reality's first­-ever awards show is proud to announce submission guidelines for the 2016 season! The date for our 2016 ceremony will be announced soon, but until then we encourage developers and teams to plan for submission and prepare the required materials.

2016 Schedule

July 10-24 > Submission Window
August 15-29 > Board of Governors Voting
September 5-15 > General Membership Voting
Date TBD > The 2016 Proto Awards Gala

Award Categories

All submissions will be judged on technical execution, artistry and originality.

  • Best Original Score Submissions must have original music composed for the experience, which has not been used in any other work (eg: television, film, etc.).
  • Best Live Action Experience Submissions must be works of video-based VR.
  • Best Narrative Experience Submissions must tell a passive and/or interactive story.
  • Best Sound Design Submissions employ inventive and well-executed sound design.
  • Best Social Experience Submissions in this category must include an element of interplay between two or more viewers, locally or over a network.
  • Best Game Submissions in this category must be interactive virtual reality video games.
  • Best Educational Experience Submissions will be judged on the originality and effectiveness with which information is imparted to the viewer.
  • Best Music Experience Submissions in this category use music as a key element.
  • Best Mobile Experience Submissions in this category are virtual reality experiences that run on a cellular phone.
  • Most Innovative Submissions in this category leverage original and advanced implementations of VR technology and artistry.
  • Best Interaction Design Submissions in this category showcase innovative mechanics for interaction with a VR experience.
  • Best GUI Submissions in this category showcase effective and innovative mechanics and displays for graphical user interfaces in virtual reality.
  • Best Student Experience Submissions in this category must be created or led by a student, verifiably enrolled at the time of creation. Enrollment in an educational institution from Elementary through PhD-level satisfies the requirement.
  • Best Art Direction Submissions in this category showcase exceptional visual expression.
  • Best Independent Experience Submissions in this category must have been created on a budget of less than $150,000 (including salaries).
  • Most Transportive Experience Submissions in this category give the viewer the sensation of having left the physical space and having been transported into virtual reality, to an extraordinary degree.
  • Best Overall As judged by our full voting membership – the best submission of 2016.

Submission Requirements

  1. VR experience available from Oculus Home, Google Play, iOS App Store, Playstation Network or Steam, or via a portal app available on one of those services. If an experience is unavailable through the above services, you must commit to two 3-day viewing windows at your offices: one for the Board of Governors and one for General Membership. Experiences released publicly via the portals above or exhibited to the public August 1, 2015 through July 10, 2016 are eligible for submission.
  2. 30 seconds of in-app, non-VR 1080p HD video from the experience
  3. Name and contact information of the person submitting
  4. Name of the company that will go on the award if won
  5. Name of the experience that will go on the award if won
  6. Up to 3 categories for which you want the experience submitted
  7. $50 submission fee (waived for students)
  8. Date of first exhibition or public availability (if not on a public portal, description of exhibition)
  9. Commitment to attend the Proto Awards ceremony or the name and contact information of your proxy in Los Angeles who has agreed to read an acceptance speech in your stead.
  10. Portal apps (ie: non-content submissions) are eligible for the Best Social Experience, Most Innovative and Best GUI categories only.
  11. Teams submitting in the Student category must be led by a student enrolled in elementary, high school, 2- or 4-year college, masters or PhD program as of July 10, 2016.

Voting Process

The Proto Awards are voted upon in three phases. After experiences in contention are submitted via the Proto Awards web site, they are voted upon by our Board of Governors, composed of VR luminaries and past Proto Awards winners. Each Governor serves on three award category committees, and evaluates the entire field of submissions in each of those categories in order to narrow the field to the six honorees presented at the Proto Awards Gala.

After the Board of Governors has narrowed each category to six honorees, the Proto Awards General Membership composed of the Board of Governors and past honorees votes to select the winner of each category.

The six honorees with the greatest vote tallies in any single category are voted upon by the General Membership to select the Best Overall winner. Votes are tallied in an instant runoff, with each voter having ranked their top five choices. The trustees of the Virtual Reality Foundation and founders of the Proto Awards do not vote at any stage of the process.