What is the future of entertainment? Many believe that the fun experiences we enjoy today (movies, games, music) will become more realistic, more immersive, and more interactive than ever before. Augmented reality (AR) technology is one of the biggest culprits for the shift.
From small app developers to giants like Google – the adoption of AR technology for entertainment purposes is widespread. In 2016, Magic Leap (a company that received $542 million from Google for AR development) announced a partnership with Lucasfilm for the purpose of experimenting with mixed reality technology. Soon after the announcement, the two companies launched a video, showing the world how AR could be used to change the well-known movie watching experience.
This is just one example of how AR could be used to transform something we all love to do in our spare time. AR as entertainment could enhance our sensory perceptions, give us access to additional information, and create a hybrid world that contains the best of reality and imagination.
Revitalising Print Publications?
Print publications like magazines and newspapers could experience a revival resulting from the introduction of AR technology. Reading as a pastime is very popular among the affluent and older individuals. Through technology, it could become much more attractive for a younger generation.
There are already examples of publishers relying on AR to create a more innovative, fully immersive experience. Die Welt enables the use of a smartphone to display additional content. While the newspaper’s promo video is in German, it provides a clear demonstration of how old-school print publications could be overhauled completely.
Through AR, both additional content and functionality can be enabled. Some newspapers and magazines, for example, have already experimented with enabling ticket buying when AR features are activated via the reader’s mobile phone. AR also gives new life to newspaper advertising allowing for new and thus catchy experience.
In a sense, AR would assist the creation of specialised print publications in the future. While such technology is still pretty experimental and it’s unclear whether the reception is going to be positive enough, the transformative potential of the technology is huge.
The Future of Film and TV
Have you ever watched The Ring? Now imagine the most memorable scene in which the girl crawls out of the well. How about crawling out of the TV and into your reality? This is precisely what could be accomplished through the use of AR technology.
The future of film and TV is more immersive and entertaining than ever before. Interactive TV could utilise AR to provide information on top of what the viewer is already seeing. The scope is much broader than just enabling certain effects or the “wow” factor when the audience is watching a movie. Some even predict that TV could become an extension of the internet and the tons of video content people are already watching there. The lines are becoming blurred and time will tell if one will be enhanced through the other or if the technology will eventually become extinct.
Interactive television has been defined as a concept a long time ago but experiments until now haven’t been particularly successful. Winky Dink and You, an animated show from the 1950s, is probably one of the earliest examples. The cartoon show called for the use of a Winky Dink set that consisted of a screen and crayons. By drawing on the screen, children could complete certain tasks and in a way interact with the show.
Obviously, augmented reality is a much more hi-tech approach but the concept is the same one. AR TV systems began making headlines back in 2014 by integrating television programs with relevant web content. The partnership between an AR company and Lucasfilm shows how the scope of such applications can increase, potentially reaching the big screen and revolutionising Hollywood.
Music, Audio Files and Augmented Reality Earbuds
While AR may seem like a highly visual technology, there have already been attempts to change the way in which people listen to music or access audio information. AR earbuds are already a thing. Doppler Labs is the company making such equipment and marketing its earbuds as “the first earbuds with Real-World Sound Control.” Now, what exactly does this mean?
Certain real-world sounds (like background traffic noise) could be filtered out while other sounds will come through. In a sense, the earbuds create an augmented layer on top of real audio to enhance the listening experience and customise it in a way that the listener enjoys.
This isn’t noise cancellation, this is a selective audio modification technology. While Doppler Labs has had to announce the end of its endeavors, the product developed by the company provides a small glimpse into how diversified the application of augmented reality technology can be in the world of entertainment.
The music industry is far from being completely overhauled yet but AR could contribute to some interesting developments. AR is mostly about alternating and enhancing a physical experience that’s grounded in reality. Via AR, audiences during a concert could listen to something that they’ve never had in the past. The live performance experience is a logical starting point that could marry the real world and enhanced digital information. Something as simple as the addition of lyrics or notations could give fans a much more comprehensive concert feel and there could also be an interactive element added through a chance to rate the performance or add a testimonial on the go.
AR apps can work with music records that fans buy. Vinyl is making a return and AR capabilities can be added to the cover, giving the listener an insider’s glimpse into how a song was conceptualised or how the recording session took place.
On a Final Note
The future of entertainment will be heavily dependent on technologies like augmented and virtual reality. The fact that we take our mobile devices everywhere that we go provides entertainment industry representatives with new opportunities to reach and engage an audience. So far, AR has mostly been utilised as a way to increase the effectiveness of multimedia, videos, presentations, and games. In the future, its use could become much more practical. AR could lead to a brand-new experience in an array of entertainment fields, enabling further exploration. Whether you are looking for the complete fantasy or a useful takeaway out of a fun experience, you will probably get it via a simple app that’s to be installed on your smartphone.