×
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

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Why Airbnb Produced Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South,' Its First-Ever Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    The latest player to hit the film-festival circuit may be a bit unexpected: Airbnb, the travel-accommodations booking marketplace, developed, financed and produced documentary film “Gay Chorus Deep South,” set to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 29. It’s the company’s very first feature film. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, “Gay Chorus Deep [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

  • Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp. Pinterest co-founder

    Pinterest Shares Up Close to 29% on IPO Day

    Shares of the social pinning service Pinterest closed at $24.45 — 28.6% above their IPO price — on the company’s first day at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday as investors were looking to get in on the latest tech listing. Pinterest’s shares opened at $23.75, 25% above the IPO pricing of $19 per share, [...]

  • Netflix Logo

    Netflix to Open Production Hub, Expand Offices in New York City

    Netflix plans to move into a bigger new office in Manhattan and open a Brooklyn production hub — all told, bringing up to $100 million in investments to New York City and resulting in hundreds of new jobs, according to New York State Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Netflix’s new corporate offices in the Big Apple [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Has Lost Over 90% of Its Subscribers in Less Than a Year (Report)

    MoviePass users apparently hit the exits en masse after it scaled back the number of movies users could see each month: The flailing cinema-subscription provider has seen its subscriber rolls plunge from a peak of more than 3 million to just 225,000 in under a year, according to a new report. The numbers were reported [...]

  • The Nashville, Tenn. downtown area and

    Nashville City Council Sides With Songwriters Against Streamers’ CRB Appeal

    Nashville city leaders have sided against the streaming services Amazon, Spotify, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora in the appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision that would give songwriters a pay raise. The Nashville Metro Council adopted the resolution as part of its consent agenda earlier this week, although the move is “purely symbolic” and the streamers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content