I had intended on posting about the Cosmotrons Game Tour but the video editing process ended up taking up a bit more time than expected so I will save that for tomorrow. In the mean time, let’s take a quick look at the progress of Augmented Reality (AR) in the out-of-home commercial entertainment space (or OOHCES…well, never mind. That doesn’t roll off the tongue 😛 )
For a while now, we have been covering the progress of Meleap, a Japanese firm who has been bucking the VR siren song in favor of what AR can offer in the amusement space. They did make an appearance at IAAPA 2016, where they were looking for a US sales rep at the time. Their official website is here.
With Mario Kart VR all over the news, the company felt it time to unveil their own HADO Kart concept. This setup uses Microsoft’s Hololens instead of Meleap’s previous HMD which was a fancy smartphone holder with curved lens (well, fancier than those cardboard solutions out there). As you can see from the concept here, it is more like Mario Kart’s Battle Mode which in turn is like bumper cars with digital overlays as opposed to a straight up kart racer.
With more FECs looking at VR solutions these days, what do you think about this?
I have often said that AR has far more potential for success in amusement than VR does. Not everyone in this sector agrees with me on that. As I see it, both technologies are imperfect in that they require users to wear them. But outside of the various issues that such a factor raises, AR solutions like Hado have a distinct advantage. Mapping VR to real world structures requires a more complex setup than AR does, equaling more expense. You also have generally seen VR setup as a new, separate attraction as opposed to an enhancement/upgrade to an existing one. AR on the other hand, can transform existing attractions into something new. As an example, imagine if a venue already has bumper cars and this could be adapted there. From what I used with Hado, they already have the tech in place to add digital characters and power-ups into a physical space. It doesn’t need to have entirely new 3D environments created and mapped to the physical location (like The Void does). This already is less of an expense in development cost and it is more adaptive to varied situations. True, it may not be as “immersive” as you might get from tailoring a custom virtual experience but it still is offering a unique twist on wearable amusement.
Expand this to other attractions such as mini golf, skating, rope courses, etc. and the potential there for offering that new experience can really take off. Granted, if you disagree with that, let me know why. 🙂