A gaming revolution? The impact of Augmented Reality on The Future of Experience

Digital Marketing

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 Gos 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

Digital Marketing
John Watton

Posted on 11-07-2016

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