This summer, with the world’s gaze focused almost entirely on Virtual Reality (VR) and its potential to revolutionise the video games industry, it was in fact another emerging technology that took the gaming industry by storm.
Pokemon Go and its simple yet universally captivating use of Augmented Reality (AR) helped propel this other new technology into global prominence following the July release of the game; so much so that both Warner Bros. and HBO are now reportedly exploring the possibility of AR games with their Harry Potter and Game of Thrones franchises.
Attracting almost 45 million users at its height of popularity, Pokemon Go’s impact on AR is now set to be matched by Novum Analytics’ Night Terrors, an innovative combination of AR and Paranormal Activity-inspired thrills that is likely to revolutionise the way in which we engage with the horror genre.
In truth, the swell of interest in AR should come as no great surprise – it’s part of an ongoing surge in fascination with, and investment in, emerging technologies across entertainment and marketing.
At Adobe, in fact, we recently partnered with Goldsmiths University to take a closer look at how emerging technologies are impacting the experience of consumers. We focused our research — entitled The Future of Experience — on technologies like VR, wearables, and AR. Through a series of consumer workshops and a survey of 2,000 UK adults, we set out to examine how consumers are reacting to these technologies and how their expectations around them are shaping up — and what brands can learn from this.
One of the aspects of AR and VR we examined was their potential for serendipity – that is, their potential to bring elements of discovery and surprise to users. The study found that consumers have, in fact, a real thirst for experiences that allow them to discover new and unexpected things – precisely what makes AR-driven experiences such such as Pokemon Go and Night Terrors so compelling.
Indeed, technology has a significant role to play in enabling serendipitous moments, whether it’s dealing with a rogue Pikachu on the way to work, the visualisation of makeup products or the sudden appearance of a ghost in your home while playing Night Terrors – all possibilities and opportunities that can be enabled by AR. AR has the capacity to embellish even the most mundane moments with enlightenment, discovery and surprise.
Ultimately, AR, together with VR, wearables and various other emerging technologies have the capacity to encourage human creativity and innovation that can lead to untold possibilities. The line between the digital world and the ‘real’ world is becoming increasingly blurred, as Dr. Chris Brauer, Director of the MsC Management of Innovation at Goldsmiths University and lead researcher behind The Future of Experience report, recently put it:
“Magical reality is perhaps the best description of what people want from an experience. To be surprised and delighted, transformed or transported, and most of all to feel and live the experience. The magic comes from the emerging technologies and the reality from experiences that help us learn about ourselves and connect with others in more meaningful ways.”
The profound impact that AR can have on our lives can therefore not be understated. Serendipity has the potential to enhance our humanity, and it’s no surprise that we’ve already seen brands invest in these sorts of technologies to boost their engagement with audiences. Niantic, the software developer behind Pokemon Go, has already begun selling ‘sponsored locations’ to advertisers. The possibilities here for brands and businesses are vast, including the option to partner with Niantic to acquire volume discounts on ‘Lure Modules’, which essentially guarantee the attendance of only the most popular and valuable Pokémon. Retail brands will effectively be able to market directly to an enormous demographic through the provision of valuable Pokémon in their stores.
Beyond the Poke-sphere, it’s likely we’ll see other entertainment brands follow the lead of Warner Bros. and HBO as they consider Harry Potter and Game of Thrones AR platforms.
Ultimately, The Future of Experience has revealed in no uncertain terms that it is now up to brands and marketers to determine how, not if, they incorporate AR into their customer experience.
To download The Future of Experience report, visit http://adobe.ly/FutureOfExperienceReport