Insights

VR, mobiles, algorithms… new ways to have fun!

Digital Consultant – UX Performance
Valtech

December 22, 2017

The entire entertainment vertical has been turned upside down with the advent of virtual reality and our total reliance on mobile technology. Going to the movies or a concert, or watching a box set will always be fun things to do with family and friends, but consumer expectations are changing and the entertainment sector is moving with the times. How to improve an experience second time round or make what’s on offer to customers bigger and better are the major upcoming challenges faced by the entertainment world.

Virtual reality enhances the 7th art!

Imax Corporation, the Canadian company behind the eponymous film format, fits out movie theaters worldwide so viewers can enjoy high definition motion pictures on the big screen. Imax owns a 100-strong plus network of movie theaters round the world. In 2017 it launched a state-of-the-art darkened screen theater, specifically for VR.

In Los Angeles, the public can try out various different experiences at the Imax VR Center. The user is immersed in his chosen experience, while moving about in the real world. The new Star Wars animation experience, where everyone has to be a master lightsaber user to fight off mythical Stormtroopers, highlights the new link between cinema and virtual reality. In fact, Imax has teamed up with several production companies like Disney, which holds the rights to the saga George Lucas created. VR Centers, more of which are planned to open in 2018, are fast becoming promotional showcases for films made in partnership with Imax. The VR headset now has a new role as promoter of the 7th Art.

Smartphones are the new TV

Over the three years since Netflix arrived on the stage, it has transformed the usages of its 300 million subscribers, who are abandoning traditional TV channels. And with the content now available to us becoming more prolific and varied, how we watch movies and series is changing fast.

In 2017, mobile phones became the most popular device for accessing the internet, overtaking desktops. It makes sense for production companies to take this on board to come up with smartphone-compatible formats.

Take the case of Blackpills, available in France since April, which offers subscribers something new and unique. All the series it broadcasts are formatted in 5 to 15-minute episodes. The aim is to cut straight to the bare bones of the subject and the plot – the format, aimed at active city dwellers, is perfect for subway journeys and short breaks. Set to launch in Asia in 2018, the platform is available now in Europe and North America. Several series have already been released, like Fearless, a thriller about an elite SWAT team and “You Got Trumped”, a comedy parodying the US President’s first few months in the White House. Although they are free at the moment, the aim is to make subscribers pay for anything more than two episodes per day. And obviously, they will only be available in mobile format.

Resonate to the beat based on algorithms

Does the future of concert halls or entertainment depend on a series of mathematical rules? Just as scientific number-crunching has always been necessary for designing buildings, algorithm modeling is now pushing the boundaries of sound perfection offered to audiences.

An American university in Iowa has just proved this, by recently inaugurating a concert hall built entirely using algorithms. The architects set about designing a program which could handle the whole range of possible events held at the venue. The rounded angles which characterize the building have been designed to offer optimum sound quality, both for rock and classical music. The same goes for ceiling height, entrances and exits and even the location of first floor balconies. Even the position of chandeliers and speakers has been calculated down to the last millimeter! This is definitely only the start of future design methods for urban infrastructure, whose improved architectural quality will enhance people’s daily lives.