Inside XR - October 14th, 2019

Inside XR (Oct 14th, 2019)

Niantic Crowdsources Location-Based Game Elements / Creepy Facebook Filter Turns You Into the Joker / AR Isn't a Fit for Every Mobile Game

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1. Niantic has announced a beta program to improve the quality and accuracy of its location-based game events and hubs. The company's Wayfarer program (a supposedly improved version of its previous location-ranking process called "Operation Portal Recon") will initially be open to "Ingress" agents level 10 and above, but "Pokemon Go" players are expected to be able to join the program before the new year. Users will be able to rank the overall viability of a spot before approving details such as names, in-game descriptions, historical or cultural significance, the accuracy of location, accessibility, and safety. The rankings will then be used by Niantic to determine whether or not to place the proposed marker in its games. Open suggestions for new real-world locations have gone through various phases over time, and following a class-action lawsuit last year, a form on the Pokemon Go support site remains available to request removal of undesirable locations. – GAMESINDUSTRY.BIZ

2. Christina Brooks tested a decidedly creepy new filter that turns you into the Joker. Since its release last week the film starring Joaquin Phoenix has already earned over $258 million at the box office, making it one of the highest-grossing films within the DC Comics universe. Piggybacking on the hype, Malaysian creative agency Black Dash Interactive (which usually develops marketing campaigns for the likes of McDonalds, Clinique, Panasonic and Nissan) has made the "just for fun" filter for Facebook and Instagram (where it was still pending approval at the time of writing) which overlays the iconic make-up onto the user's face with Augmented Reality. As Brooks notes, the effort shows that the Facebook platform has come along quite far in its efforts to keep up with Snap, and could very well prove a hit for Halloween. – NEXT REALITY

3. Todd Martens visited IndieCade in Santa Monica, California, and reflected on how the event is using technology such as AR to turn the world around us into a canvas for play in this new article. From the escape-room hybrid experience of “ARBox” to the poignantly personal and thoughtful immersive journey of “Ama’s Momento,” the 12th edition of the independent games showcase aims to use technology and play to connect people - both on a physical and emotional level. “Spaceteam” developer Henry Smith says the resurgence of independent board games and products such as Tilt Five prove the appetite for exploring this intersection of digital and physical play. “Video games are so ubiquitous now that bringing that out of the screen and into the world is exciting to people … It’s a shared space that people can navigate together and do interesting things in, and I think that can be the foundation for many different experiences,” he says  – LA TIMES  

4. Compelling campaign results are converting more brands to XR advertising and marketing. Among the thousands of people who recently tried Diageo's Singleton whiskey experience, 85 percent reported the VR element had enhanced their enjoyment of the product, while Cathay Pacific found their  360° video campaign increased unaided awareness by 29 percent, brand favorability by 25 percent, and preference for the airline by 12 percent. According to Admix CEO Sam Huber, early tests have shown that 3D ad engagement is 20 times higher than web ads, and he believes that these trends will see "flat content" progressively replaced by spatial content that users will increasingly consume through headsets or glasses. – FORBES

5. Verizon Media has added Augmented Reality features to its native ad format "Moments." The platform currently works when a user is scrolling through an item and the top of an ad appears at the bottom of the screen so that as you scroll down, the ad eventually takes up the entire screen. The idea is to deploy AR to make this mechanism even more effective by, for instance, offering an experience where you can instantly place a product into your environment using your phone's front-facing camera, or virtually try some make-up with an AR filter. Content is made by Verizon Media’s content studio, RYOT Studio, and is part of its broader strategy which previously saw it launch AR-based immersive ads on Yahoo Mail (resulting in a huge increase in engagement) and most recently led to the acquisition of Jaunt XR. – ARPOST

6. Modelo beer has unveiled its Dia de Los Muertos AR campaign that brings street murals to life. The brand released an out-of-home (OOH) campaign for the upcoming "Dia de Los Muertos" celebration which traditionally takes place in Mexican Culture from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. Smartphone users don't need a specific app, and can access the experience via AR ad platform Zappar by visiting the ModeloMural website. Once the camera is pointed at relevant murals - placed at select locations in Miami, Washington, D.C., Charleston, S.C., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.- the user sees a 3D animation of a woman extending a skeletal arm forward to grab a bottle of Modelo Especial together with traditional imagery such as marigolds and candles. – MOBILE MARKETER

7. Augmented Reality is not a panacea for all mobile games. In this opinion piece, Cerberus Interactive CEO Sami Khan argues that the success gulf between "Pokémon Go" - which remains one of the highest-grossing games on mobile - with the more tepid reception received by "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" illustrates how AR only works if the unique properties of the medium are taken into account during the design process. Furthermore, he says, fan feedback needs to be incorporated at a much earlier stage to ensure the medium matches the play mechanisms and the IP in a way that makes sense for the end-user. – VENTUREBEAT  

This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio


Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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