So what do you think of when you combine super high fidelity 3D, real-time streaming, and global connectivity?
You get a VR Gameshow called “The Future Universe”.
If all goes well next year will be the first time TV viewers and mobile-device owners will participate in a virtual and interactive live game show pitting in-studio contestants against a potential worldwide group of people playing at home on their phones, tablets, and laptops, all competing for prizes.
The Future Group a Norwegian company has a deal in place with one of the largest production companies in the world to begin airing The Future Universe in prime-time 2016 in a single, major country. They are expecting to air the futuristic TV show in countries all around the world.
Bård Anders Kasin, the founder and CEO of The Future Group, and a technical director at Warner Bros. who worked on The Matrix films says VR is still largely a single-user experience. Future Group’s show is trying to leverage some of the elements that make VR compelling to a lot of people. “We’re not just putting them in there with goggles,” says Kasin. “We’re putting them in a virtual world as characters, in real time.”
You would be playing against the contestant on screen through your optimized standalone mobile device, the games are in the realm of Angry Birds and that style of play. “Imagine people in the studio are driving Mario Karts through the streets [of a virtual] New York,” Kasin says. “[The studio] audience would see them driving in Mario Karts. The at-home audience could be doing the same task [on their mobile devices], and if you do better or worse than them, you can see [the] people in the studio driving past you.”
The Future Group’s idea is that each production company at the networks will be able to customize their game shows to local niches and communities, all the way up to country vs. country gaming experiences. The game will be free to everyone, but those that want to eligible for game prizes would be required to pay a small fee and set up a profile. Mobile players can spend as much time as they want in the game, trying to rack up points that they can spend on a variety of prizes offered by sponsors. Those handpicked to play in the studio, however, will only compete for cash prizes.
The company imagines highly targeted ads based on the personal information users provide, Kasin says, “What’s unique here,” as opposed to a motion picture, “is that we’re doing it in real time. All the rendering and the graphics, we can do it instantly; “this lets advertisers jump from your TV screen to your mobile or desktop.”
At present, they’ve raised $7.5 million and is currently looking to raise about $10 million in additional financing. As described, it’s extremely ambitious—implementing technology in a way that hasn’t been done before—and relies on large numbers of people being engaged enough in what’s going on to be willing to pay to play. Some other companies using the pay for special content only on mobile devices have racked in over a billion dollars in revenue. Future plans also include a system where anyone with the skills to program a mobile game could design content for the game show.
We hope this is going to happen, The Future Group definitely comes out of nowhere and has some powerful media ideas, but as you know implementation is everything. The truth of the matter is everyone in the industry should have the heads in the same kind of thinking. Creating ways to get more immersion of customers through rich involvement and the tech can help with that.
Art courtesy of Kundar Leement