Insights From The Blog

The Future of Entertainment Technology

The face of entertainment and the way we experience it is changing, and within just a few years, it is likely to be significantly different from what we are used to now. Don’t get me wrong; there will still likely be the same kind of entertainment forms that we have now – rapid change isn’t for everyone – delivered in subtly different ways. While we’re not sure where it will all end, the one thing that we do know is that it’s going to be a hell of a ride..!

As we move forward into the future, it is indisputable that augmented reality and virtual reality are going to revolutionise the entertainment industry and push it to new heights. Just for a moment, try to picture yourself attending a virtual concert where you are not only able to watch your favourite band perform, but you are also able to feel the bass reverberating through your body. 

As a result of developments in hardware, VR experiences are getting more immersive and affordable, and it is no longer a far-off dream as it was a few years ago. With increasingly affordable devices on the market, virtual reality is now becoming a reality that is accessible to everyone.

AR systems can be used to enhance our experiences in the actual world by superimposing digital information onto the physical environment. However, it is not just about experiencing entertainment through a virtual environment; it can also be used to enhance physical experiences. Imagine that you are watching a motor race or a football game, and as you look up, you see holographic statistics floating above the players and drivers, with data keeping you continually informed about what is happening every step of the way.  

How about going to a museum where historical people are brought to life using augmented reality and told all about their adventures and the impact they had on history? The combination of virtual reality with augmented reality will result in the creation of a dynamic playground for entertainment, one in which the lines between reality and fantasy will become increasingly difficult to distinguish.

While you might think that entertainment of this style is still some way off, there are already a number of immersive experiences using VR/AR – London has a very fine rendition of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds in which users spend much of the experience strapped into VR headsets.  There is a growing proliferation of VR-based escape rooms that are becoming the norm in this growing form of entertainment, and with relatively inexpensive setup costs – with VR, you don’t need huge arenas or expensive sets – more and more entrepreneurs are going to see the positive business model in this.  

Let’s put this into some kind of perspective from a business point of view. The Swarm roller coaster at Thorpe Park cost around £18,000,000 to design and build. It also has an ongoing running cost.  Imagine now, a virtual roller coaster coupled with a fairly simple three-axis aero trim and you have got a roller coaster system which is effectively static but has the power to terrify even the most ardent ride fanatic.

Furthermore, because it is a static device, the VR element can be made as fast and furious as the developer likes, without risk of injury or death from the users – well, bar heart attacks driven by sheer terror, anyway. But the experience can be made even more thrilling by the addition of haptics to introduce another level of in-game engagement.  

Haptic feedback is the process of simulating tactile feelings through the use of physical stimuli, such as frequency patterns of vibration. A few examples of this would be the vibration that occurs on your video game controller and the sensation that occurs when you push a button on your smartphone screen. 

Haptic feedback is utilised to engage a greater number of the user’s senses in order to deliver an experience that is both more profound and more immersive. It is common for products that offer haptic feedback to deliver a variety of feelings that correspond with a variety of visual and auditory stimuli.

All of this sounds highly exciting, but there is an obvious caveat; almost anything VR is currently a solitary experience. It is true that we connect with many others with an online presence but it tends to be carried out in our own space. Introducing VR and AR experiences as a massed event will require a bit of a change in how we use the equipment and how it is presented to us.

Unity Developers are excited about the future of entertainment and are ready to help you with any AR/VR application that you might have. We are always ready to work with anyone with a good idea so why not contact us and see how we can help you.