×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Magic Leap Plans to Use Location-Based Entertainment to Win Over Consumers

Magic Leap is taking some cues from one of the latest trends in virtual reality: The maker of the Magic Leap One headset is looking to use location-based entertainment to get consumers familiar with its technology, and ultimately prepare them to buy its headsets once a mass-market version is available to the general public.

“We think that market, those location-based experiences, is huge,” said Magic Leap chief content officer Rio Caraeff in an interview with Variety on the sidelines of the company’s first L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles this week.

The company used L.E.A.P. to demonstrate a first example of location-based entertainment powered by its Magic Leap One headset. Santa Fe, N.M.-based arts collective Meow Wolf showed off its Navigator, a giant robot vehicle that attendees could interact with via a combination of touch screen displays and superimposed AR imagery of distant galaxies.

A promotional video for Meow Wolf’s Navigator, which the arts collective built in partnership with Magnopus.

The seven-minute demo of the Navigator was just a first taste for Meow Wolf’s plans to incorporate AR into future attractions. In the company’s upcoming Denver outpost, attendees will be able to freely roam the space wearing Magic Leap’s headsets, and interact with multiple art pieces, including the Navigator showed off this week. The arts group, whose funders include “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, currently plans to open this AR-powered exhibition by 2020.

But while the Navigator came together in a matter of weeks, Magic Leap has been toying with the idea of location-based AR for much longer. In 2016, the company cooperated with Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB on an internal project known as the Hoth experiment. This involved turning a warehouse next to Magic Leap’s corporate office into a replica of the ice planet Hoth, complete with AT-AT walkers breaking through the ceiling and life-sized Snowspeeders whizzing through the air.

“We did it with controlling the light, controlling the wind, controlling the sound, controlling the temperature, and it made it feel more real,” said Caraeff. “Because of the sense of scale, it was not something you could ever do in your living room. It was something that was much larger than you, and kind of epic in its volumetric scale.”

The Hoff experiment has been part of ILMxLAB’s four-year partnership with Magic Leap, which ultimately resulted in the announcement of “Star Wars: Project Porg” this week. While that experience is much smaller in scale, and designed for in-home use, Magic Leap hasn’t given up on large-scale experiences either.

“We think that’s gonna be how a lot of people try the stuff for the first time,” said Caraeff, adding that the company is actively working with partners on other location-based AR experiences. Ultimately, this could lead to consumers familiarizing themselves with Magic Leap, which could eventually result in purchase decisions, he argued.

That idea is not new. Prompted by disappointing headset sales, VR companies have been increasingly focused on location-based entertainment as a gateway to mass-market adoption. This includes Facebook’s Oculus subsidiary, which has quietly been working on building a portfolio of location-based VR experiences to popularize its own VR headsets.

More Digital

  • Dwayne Johnson Skyscraper

    People Really Want The Rock as the Voice of Their Smart Speaker

    Maybe Google was onto something when it used John Legend as the voice of its smart speakers: Nearly 1 in 3 participants in a recent Adobe smart speaker survey said that they want a celebrity as the voice of their AI assistant. Participants of the Adobe Analytics June 2019 Voice Report also had some clear [...]

  • jfk mooonshot ar app artwork

    JFK Presidential Library Releases Moon Landing Augmented Reality App

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has released an augmented reality app (AR) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and the role President Kennedy played in getting the U.S. to the moon. The app, which is available for free for iPhones and Android, lets users relive the Apollo 11 mission in their [...]

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content