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AT&T’s and Magic Leap’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Experience Is a Fun Little Teaser

This Is What Magic Leap's Game
Janko Roettgers / Variety

Augmented reality startup Magic Leap and AT&T have been showing a “Game of Thrones” experience ahead of the premiere of the show’s final season at select AT&T stores this month. “The Dead Must Die: A Magic Leap Encounter” isn’t necessarily breaking ground in location-based entertainment, but it’s a fun little teaser for the show, and a device that most consumers haven’t had a chance to play with until now.

The experience, produced by Framestore in partnership with HBO, AT&T and Magic Leap, is currently showing in the telco’s so-called flagship stores in San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. Later this month, it is scheduled to come to select stores in Los Angeles and Dallas as well. Ultimately, there will also be a home-based version of Magic Leap owners, according to a Magic Leap spokesperson.

This week, Magic Leap hosted Variety at its San Francisco flagship location for a demo of the experience, where it is being shown in a dedicated pop-up booth on the second floor of the store, complete with a faux brick wall, wooden crates, stacks of logs, and a partially dismembered corpse that is flailing a bit for added effect — and that’s just what you get to see without AR.

After signing a waiver, consumers get to put on a Magic Leap headset. An intro narration briefly sets the scene, reminding participants that there are two ways to kill a White Walker: fire and dragon glass. Soon after, an AR torch appears in midair, after which one of the wooden crates starts to rock, followed by a White Walker bursting out, ready to attack. Later on in the experience, participants get to face an even mightier opponent.

All of this just takes five minutes or less, depending on how well-versed participants are in slaying the undead. The experience is single-player, and while there are physical props, players don’t actually get to interact with them. For instance, you use the Magic Leap controller to pick up the AR torch, as well as any other objects, instead of handling physical representations of such objects, as one might in a more advanced location-based VR experience from a company like The Void.

“The Dead Must Die: A Magic Leap Encounter” isn’t necessarily the most state-of-the-art representation of location-based entertainment, but it’s still fun, if only for a few minutes. And as a free experience open to the general public, it’s a chance for consumers to get a taste of what Magic Leap and AR headsets in general are all about, complete with portals and other visual effects used in many other Magic Leap experiences.

Ultimately, we might be able to see a more immersive use of Magic Leap’s headsets for other location-based experiences. Magic Leap chief content officer Rio Caraeff told Variety last year that the company was looking to embrace location-based entertainment in the future. “We think that market, those location-based experiences, is huge,” Caraeff said.