Mixed reality holograms – the new form of experience marketing?

By July 4, 2016General

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll soon be able to see your droid heroes up close and personal. Forget a galaxy far, far away: Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB and US tech reality start-up Magic Leap have teamed up to bring the Star Wars universe to your very own living room.

Lucasfilm announced the strategic alliance with Magic Leap earlier this month.

Under the pact, the companies are forming a joint research lab at Lucasfilm’s San Francisco campus to explore new forms of storytelling within the so-called ‘mixed reality’ universe.

What is mixed reality?

Mixed reality combines the best aspects of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In theory, mixed reality lets the user see the real world (like AR) while also seeing believable, virtual objects (like VR).

It anchors those virtual objects to a point in real space, making it possible to treat them as “real,” at least from the perspective of the person who can see the MR experience.

To borrow an example from Microsoft, you might be looking at an ordinary table, but see an interactive virtual world from the video game Minecraft sitting on top of it.

As you walk around, the virtual landscape holds its position, and when you lean in close, it gets closer in the way a real object would. Check it out here.

Back to Star Wars

To demonstrate how the technology is being used, Lucasfilm released this proof-of-concept video at Conde Nast’s Wired Business Conference in New York.

Technically speaking, the image you see of C-3PO and R2-D2 in a living room isn’t a hologram in the traditional sense. It’s more like a piece of virtual reality that is filtered digitally to look like it’s in the real world. It requires a special set of goggles to see, but it’s not like other VR systems.

Experiential storytelling

Lucasfilm and Magic Leap are pushing the boundaries of storytelling – using experiential technology to make the experience more immersive for the audience.

Using mixed reality, they want people to step inside their stories, and have those stories react back to people in compelling ways.

However, before magical realism becomes a seamless part of everyday life, it needs some advanced prototyping. But although it’s very early days, if this Star Wars snippet is anything to go by, the future of mixed reality and immersive entertainment holds incredible promise.

And what, in general, does this mean for experience marketing? What potential opportunities are there?

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on info@hotcow.co.uk.