Mark Pine, the keynote speaker from Disney Imagineering at ISMAR09, gave the audience compelling reasons why truly interactive experiences are the future of entertainment and the one I remember most was: “It’s about connecting with the user.”
Total Immersion has recently partnered with Hanwa Co. (Japan) to create a live action augmented reality video game that connects with the user in much the same way that Mark from Disney had displayed. Unlike the projection based AR system that Disney used, Total Immersion have their guests wear a backpack and wield a video gun to hunt ghosts in the fully explorable house earning points as they capture them.
“We’re demonstrating the magical ability of augmented reality to capture visitors’ attention and imagination,” said Bruno Uzzan, CEO, Total Immersion. “Guests experience real time interaction with augmented reality content — and are pulled into real life videogame, dynamically.”
More pictures can be seen on Total Immersion’s blog about AR and they recently uploaded this video to YouTube.
Total Immersion reports a high revisit rate with teens and gamers which bodes well for AR driven entertainment. Their AR entertainment experience makes me realize that the first real augmented reality HMDs won’t be bought by consumers, but instead will be used in malls and other family entertainment centers to create immersive gaming experiences like this ghost hunt.
As the technology becomes more robust with occlusion, better graphics, and faster tracking; the complexity of the games will grow. It’s not hard to imagine AR games like the one’s described in Larry Niven’s Dream Park taking over the laser tag centers in your local mall. We just won’t tell the kids that they’re really LARPing.