Kevin Williams has recently published a book on The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities.
In this extensive interview, Kevin gives a comprehensive overview of the Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE) sector and what VR developers can learn from amusement parks and what type of opportunities there are to provide immersive experiences to large groups of people.
Kevin also provides a lot of insight into the history of how AR and VR developed out of military simulations and applied into what he sees are three different types of immersive entertainment experiences: Ones that are designed for audiences and shared group experiences, individual experiences, and finally educational applications and experiences.
Here’s the Venn diagram that’s discussed at the end of the show that maps out the DOE landscape.
It’s a rich interview filled with a lot of unique and interesting insights, and a more detailed listing can shown down below.
If you have any questions for Kevin, then feel free to reach out to him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reddit discussion here.
- 0:00 – Intro KWP Consultancy that focuses on Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment. Founding chairman of DNA Association. Co-author of The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities
- 1:00 – Comprehensive overview of Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment. Held first conference in 2011. Created an association. Tired of explaining the market to others, and got a lot of industry leaders to participate. What it has to offer.
- 2:55 – How Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment is relevant to VR. Arcade golden age from 80s-90s, but then became placid and compliant. Public and audience moved on. From 90s onward would visit out-of-home entertainment facilities. Arcade companies. Crossover for VR. Where VR first hit consumers with Virtuality and Alternative Worlds was the arcade machine. VR continued in simulation and military applications, but had floundered up until Palmer Luckey came along with Oculus VR. It’ll be a second dawn for VR and DOE
- 6:31 – DOE used to be a bridge from research to the mainstream. Mobile, PC, and fully immersive room as 3 tiers of VR. Future of VR arcades and location-based entertainment. VR is in it’s 4th phase. 1st Ivan Sutherland in 1968. 2nd VPL took NASA tech and created disposable tech. 3rd Virtuality and ended with Virtual Boy. 4th was Oculus VR and resurgence of consumer VR. Used to be beating swords into plowshares — taking military tech and making it available to consumers. It’s been a bit of a reversal of roles with VR coming from mobile technology. Focused on immersive entertainment with DOE and DNA.
- 10:53 – History of military’s involvement with VR. Translating military technology and make it available to consumers. Simulations were huge in 70s and 80s for defense purposes. Couldn’t build as many tanks as needed, and so train people via simulation. Flight and commercial jet training simulations in VR. Do 80% of training before doing it for real. Simulation industry is real and VR is used by military, law enforcement, railroads, transportation, etc. Was able to try out $2-4 million VR flight simulators. VR came to it’s fruition with simulation. Detailed simulation needed for the apache simulator, and so it required a head-mounted display and move beyond the CAVE screen projection. Apache Helicopter tech lead to AR and VR.
- 16:51 – Head-tracking. Difficult to nail down from 1968-1990 for how VR was used in the military. Synthetic visual worlds being represented to military pilots. Now create immersive synthetic environments that are believable, immersive and entertaining.
- 18:07 – History of VR from 1968 to 1990. Big VR developments happening within the military. Military simulators have had a lot of money from US, UK and Israel defense agencies.
- 19:13 – Car simulation. VR and simulation are viable. There’s no difference between VR and simulation. Speed boat and professional racing drivers learn the tracks through simulation. Professional simulators are made available for consumers.
- 21:21 – Connection between amusement parks and innovations for digital out-of-home entertainment. Large audiences looking for immersive entertainment experiences. Star Tours was one of the first immersive experiences for amusement parks. Theme parks look for the next big high, and immersive entertainment provides that. Disney Quest built in 1998, and is still open today. It’s the longest-running VR entertainment experience. Aladdin magic carpet ride and Ride the Comix, a comic book sword fighting application. Had hundreds of thousands of people experience VR. Spent over $90 million dollars to develop it. Consumer is cost-effective and immersive, and throw as much possible money as possible to make compelling immersive experiences that encourage repeat visits.
- 25:12 Use of mobile and tablet tech at Amusement Parks and future of VR/AR HMDs in public spaces at Amusement Parks. Augmented Reality devices are personal, but DOE wants to control the device and provide special devices that are more unique. Three tiers of Amusement Park experiences: 1.) Pay price and experience the theme park attractions in meat space. 2.) Do augmented reality experiences while at the park. 3.) Participate remotely with others via virtual reality.
- 28:24 – Museums and Libraries and Edutainment applications with AR/VR – Facilities using AR viewing stations and show additional info. If the weather is bad, then show best view. Boosting the experience. AR tablets that superimpose additional info about objects in a museum. At a gallery, tablets will show specific aspects of pieces of art. Taking military situational awareness simulation technology and recontextualizing it for consumers. Education will be a huge part of AR and VR. In the leisure sector, there’s the gamification of exercise
- 32:36 – Developers could create their own AR experiences at amusement parks. Big corporations are doing this. MagiQuest at Pigeon Forge, TN combination of VR, AR and immersive technology where people role-play being a magician. Doesn’t get a lot attention from the media.
- 34:53 – Augmenting Laser Tag – Laser Tag is military technology for combat simulations. Laser tag has gone through different waves of popularity. Seeing next-gen laser tag with digital natives who are used to mobile phones and console gaming. Using AR HMDs within laser tag environments as well as digital projection mapping within the environments.
- 38:08 – 4DX theater opened within US. Porting experiences to incorporate 4DX theater. Cinemas started at amusement parks. Then Lumière brothers thought to project film projecting into walls. But films emerged from amusement parks. Passive film experiences and increasing the immersive experience with physical effects. Drive towards interactivity and 7D films by Triotech where audience can interact and compete with each other. Dark Ride experiences where you shoot at the screen. Transition from passive to interactive narratives. DOE likes to deal with audiences because of economies of scale. Immersive Dome experiences
- 43:26 – Opportunities for independent VR developers to port content into DOE experiences. Looking for new opportunities to apply their skills
- 44:45 – Marketing applications of immersive technologies. Promotional and marketing impacts of DOE. Initially thought they’d take over billboards with digital billboards, but realized that they need to create interactive narrative to draw people in. AR bus shelter done by Pepsi. Marketing industry wants to draw people into experiences to build brands. Creating a VR fashion events and virtual fashion show. Dreamworks Teach your own Dragon and using VR experiences to promote movie, and Game of Thrones using VR to promote the show.
- 49:20 – ImmersiON announces strategic fusion with VRelia. TDVision has done a lot of military simulations. Decided to take on VR HMDs, and used for simulation and training sector. Dedicated system that’s off-the-shelf system for training, simulation, research and development, but also be able to be used in ruggedized and placed into public spaces for the Digital Out-Of-Home Entertainment sector, and have access to the latest technologies.
- 51:35 – Going towards the Holodeck. NASA and JPL using autonomous astronaut machines. JPL demonstrations using CAVEs to recreate another world. Content source for augmented reality, and used for VR content. Sony Project Morpheus had Mars Rover data. Simulation has been a huge part of space exploration. For every hour of moonwalk, there was 8 hours of simulation. Quad drones using data for virtual tourism. GoPros on submarines, space ships and perhaps even on the Mars rover.
- 55:45 Venn Diagram that maps out the landscape of Digital Out-Of-Home Entertainment. Amusement and pay-for play sector, theme park sector, retail and hospitality sector, and edutainment & leisure sector. They overlap, but there are two digital gambling and video games are different and self-contained industries.
- 59:50 – Potential of VR. Experiential technology using forced feedback to make it feel like you’re on Mars or microscopic entity or another person. Three levels of immersive entertainment. Three types of immersive entertainment experiences: Audiences and shared group experiences. Individual experiences. Educational applications and experiences.
- 1:02:30 – Contact Kevin via email@example.com
Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio