Reality plus: how AR reshapes entertainment

Augmented reality endorsement picks up pace, according to a recent market forecast. The AR market volume is expected to hit $30 billion by 2023, growing at 39 percent CAGR.

This growth is rooted in AR’s utility. Augmented reality proves itself a multi-purpose technology, being eagerly adopted across different domains, such as manufacturing, healthcare, education, travel, and, of course, entertainment.

It’s 2018, and AR bursts through different facets of the entertainment industry, showing its potential in marketing and advertising for media products as well as being the part of such products themselves.

We are going to highlight a bunch of curious AR applications in entertainment to prove that the next years will be even more disrupting for the technology. Buckle up, we have so many leapfrog things to discuss – from a take on Harry Potter’s enchanted Daily Prophet newspaper to an app for heading a virtual music band and summoning a filter or two with a power of voice.

Music and AR technology are similar in their ability to enhance the sensory world around. We all know how a casual day becomes way better with the right playlist or a good party is tagged #bland due to an ill-fitting tracks choice. That’s why record labels and marketers are tapping into AR to create the synergy and engage the digitally native audience.

Wowing online and offline performances

Back in 2010, David Guetta and Rihanna’s music video to “Who’s That Chick” was enhanced with varied AR effects, diamonds and butterflies included. Jumping into 2018, Maroon 5 shot an entire video to “Wait” in Snapchat.

We truly believe that AR can inspire musicians to unleash their creativity and amuse the audience with both on-stage gigs and music videos. We’d love to see some flying dragons in the next Imagine Dragons concert or get immersed into one of Ariana Grande’s music video scenery right during her live performance.

Gamified music education

Any learning experience is enjoyed more when it feels more like a game than an actual studying process. AR can trigger this feeling of play and achievement in younger audiences – or those who need some extra motivation to start making beautiful music.

This already happens with such mobile apps as music.iLuv, which allows children and adults to practice playing various instruments in an enhanced world, mix creative mashups, perform with a virtual musical band, and pour the results into a music video.

Hopefully, we will see more similar social AR music platforms coming. It would be even better if such educational programs could feature some famous musicians helping everyone to master cello, piano, or sax. How about playing guitar with Slash?

Today’s consumers still want bread and circuses, but more often and in a greater amount. We regularly update Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, looking for fresh entertainment. Social media live as long as they can keep the users engaged. Here’s how AR can help them out.

Snapchat

Well, Snapchat is truly the most AR-addicted social media – it always comes with the new ways to enhance the world around its users. Snapchat became famous for cool AR filters and lenses that can transform anyone into anything from a flower-crowned goddess to a neon hatter. Now the users can also

In addition to that, Snapchat introduced speech-activated AR lenses, triggered with exclamations such as “okay,” “wow,” “love,” and “hi.”

Features they added also include Snappables, which allow the users to play AR games and challenge each other with dance-offs or egg-catching competitions, and 3D Bitmoji – customizable avatars that can be both stickers and AR mini-copies of users, dancing, goofing and even firewalking.

The most recent AR novation on Snapchat is the Shoppable lens, which helps brands to reach their audience in numerous ways, for example, ushering users to view a promotion video, install an app, or visit a web store.

Facebook & Instagram

Since these social media giants aren’t as bold in AR adopting as Snapchat, they are now eager to catch up and monetize on its hands-down most popular features.

For example, Instagram added their own AR filters, understanding the users’ needs. A little later, they also allowed third parties to make AR-infused camera effects and lured in some platform influencers to contribute with their custom creations.

Facebook also included AR filters toolkit in its arsenal, but it didn’t really click with the audience. They also started an AR gaming initiative, offering the users to combat friends in video chat games. The “Don’t Smile” checks your poker face skills, while the “Asteroids Attack” tests your ability to navigate an aircraft with the head.

Facebook also seeks for the ways to make advertising more engaging, so they introduced new AR promotions embedded into the feed. These ads repurpose AR filters, turning them into a prop for a virtual fitting room. Facebook users can now try on Michael Kors, Sephora, Wayfair, and Pottery Barn products.

Don’t you think it’s about time we start taking photos and hang them on real physical walls again? Even if not yet, AR can change your mind. They say that the history repeats itself, and we can’t be more excited about these interesting startups shaping the AR photo printing trend.

We anticipate similar technologies getting wider adoption among museums, photo shows, and art galleries, allowing visitors to have a sneak peek into an artwork’s history, discover the underlying idea, or get a few words from the creator. AR-enhanced exhibitions can become even more engaging and thus memorable.

Prynt

Prynt is an iPhone-exclusive device, able to print out cute little photos with strong Polaroid vibes and make these images AR-enabled. The Prynt iOS app is all what you need to see a motion picture within a shot. Oh, and these photos are printed out on a peel-and-stick paper, so it will be easy to create a cute love story poster to present a significant other or a collage featuring the season’s most exciting adventures.

Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer

Rejoice, Potterheads! We now have ourselves a real-world Daily Prophet, aka the enchanted newspaper from Harry Potter’s book and movie series. Lifeprint’s Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer is already available for pre-order on Amazon with the official launch on Oct. 22, 2018.

Similarly to Prynt, this Harry Potter-themed device allows users to print photos instantly and embed videos into them. Enabled pictures are then animated through the specialized iOS and Android apps. This printer also comes with the custom badges to show off their user’s house – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff.

Harry Potter Magic Photo and Video Printer also allows its users to apply AR face filters with different items, such as Hogwarts scarves, Luna Lovegood’s quirky glasses, Harry’s scar, Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody’s magical eye, and more. Additionally, the printer users can enhance each shot with cute themed stickers within their Lifeprint app and post the result on social media.

PhotoBloom AR

PhotoBloom AR offers anyone to make an AR-enabled picture, starting with uploading a video and a target image on the website. Then they can choose a particular format – say, a greeting card, a chilly photo with sea waves crashing on the beach, or maybe a Netflix series poster with some favorite highlights. Anything you can imagine, really.

After that, the company ships the chosen product right to their customer’s door. They need to download an iOS or Android app to let the magic happen and reveal the story under the image.

While augmented reality is really needed in all other industries, where it brings in significant value by making someone’s work more effective, fast, or precise, entertainment needs AR too. We are swept away by the idea of how more saturated and whimsical the entertainment industry can become with the help of AR developers. Even current examples are impressive, but this technology evolves so fast that we can’t even guess the direction it will go even in the next year or two. Can you? Please let us know in comments.

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Tatyana Shavel

Tatyana Shavel is a VR/AR technology analyst at Iflexion. She works in the intersection of business and technology exploring the practical use of augmented and virtual reality for smarter business and a better world. In addition to keeping a constant pulse on industry trends, she enjoys digging into data and conducting research.