Though Apple and Google both improved their augmented reality tools for developers last year, AR didn’t have a particularly strong 2018, as consumers largely shrugged off new AR apps and hardware. But the Lego Group announced an intriguing new initiative today: a collection of eight “haunted” building sets that can be enjoyed by themselves, or paired with a new AR app that adds spooky virtual elements to explore.
All set in the town of Newbury, the Lego Hidden Side sets will range in price from $20 to $130, with models including a bus, graveyard, and schoolhouse. In physical form, the models will be seen as they appear by day, while the AR app will show them infested with ghosts at night.
Lego’s free Hidden Side app lets kids choose between one of two characters to explore the sets from a first-person perspective, using Android or iOS devices to discover and capture the virtual ghosts. The AR app will prompt kids to discover new parts of the real-world models, and change the AR experience as kids physically manipulate the sets.
“At our core we focus on tactile building,” explained Lego SVP Tom Donaldson, “but AR presents opportunities to enhance physical LEGO play with new action and mastery elements. We’re breaking the mold of gaming-first AR play experiences to create a new type of play where the physical world actually influences the AR layer, instead of the other way around.”
Lego Hidden Side builds on the Lego AR Playgrounds initiative announced at Apple’s 2018 WWDC. After showing a prototype on stage with impressive but largely cosmetic interactions between a Lego set and an iOS app, the company released Lego Ninjago AR playsets as “early experiments” to see how AR could enhance physical play.
The Lego Group says Hidden Side will be the first time it introduces a play theme as a service, with promises to keep adding new challenges, ghosts, and randomized gameplay to the app to keep it fresh. Kids will also be able to play several small games inside the Hidden Side app without using building sets.
The Hidden Side sets will hit stores around the world in late summer. iOS and Android apps are planned to hit the App Store and Google Play for free at the same time.
Retail x Toy x Augmented Reality – A perfect combination, and an upcoming trend! Star Wars is doing it. And, Joy Aether & SnapPop will be launching a deep-engagement toy marketing campaign, for 20+ toy brands in the next 2 months, stay tuned!
In this series of post, the author will be presenting a set of Internet of Things technologies and applications in the form of tutorial in chapter form. Basic concepts are covered with an approachable style, not heaped in technical terms.
“Virtual and Augmented Reality are poised to profoundly transform the STEM curriculum. In this article, we offer several inspiring examples and key insights on the future of immersive learning and the sciences.”
When it comes to differentiating from the competition, brands are continuing to leverage augmented reality to give consumers to the point that there are few “firsts” left to achieve in the marketplace. While L’Oreal jumps on the augmented reality bandwagon for cosmetics, Acura finds a new way to make augmented reality a spectacle in the automotive industry. Acura Turns to Augmented Reality Race to Showcase New TLX Sam Gorski of Corridor Digital won the first-ever augmented reality race, which Acura broadcasted live via Facebook yesterday to promote its new 2018 TLX. Gorski beat out three
The HKSAR government had just launched the Technology Voucher Programme (TVP). TVP aims to subsidise local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.
For the new year, you can plan to use mobile technologies to improve your operations, engage customers better, and explore more revenue streams. Just please drop us a line and feel free to chat!
And see our last newsletter before the year ends, to get some ideas!
“Pokémon Go”, launched only 1 week ago in US, Australia and New Zealand, has already taken the world by storm, and the number of users has already surpassed Tinder, and even Twitter by somemeasure. It’s been closely followed by video game media outlets, the tech community, and mainstream media at large.
What is “Pokémon Go”?
It’s a smartphone game that uses AR (Augmented Reality) technologies. A player needs to catch and collect these cute monsters called Pokemon. To discover and catch them, he/she needs to walk around the real world. e.g. The player walks to the local town square, and the game, using smartphone’s GPS location, will know that the player is now at the town square, and will then show a monster, and allow the player to catch.
Why is it so popular?
– It’s different. Compared to most other video games that you play sitting down and indoors, Pokémon Go let players go out and about to play outdoors on their smartphones.
– It’s easy to pick up, and easy to learn. The gameplay is simple, and it’s free to download, therefore attracting players in different demographics.
– It’s real-world social. Many players can go to the same town square, and will see the same monster. You can gather your friends and go on a Pokemon-seeking trip together. While at the same time, you can also choose to start playing and learning by yourself at your own pace.
– Nostalgia of a very strong and popular cartoon franchise. Pokémon was very popular among kids 20 years ago, and now many of those kids are grown-ups who are eager to revisit this childhood favourite.
– The gameplay of treasure hunt is evergreen. The game of exploring and treasure hunting is intuitive and fun, and children and adults alike can perfectly relate to it.
Why you should care
The success of the game, with its limited launch to only 3 countries, is already bringing in US$1 million revenue per day. It’s an amazing case study of how to engage with your customers and your fans, reinvigorate your brand, and create a media phenomenon.
– Bring interactivity and fun to customers. AR blends the real world with the virtual world, and this technology, with the right gameplay, can make any toy and any game more interesting. Brands like Coca-Cola have also been using AR to enrich user engagement via interacting with their product packaging and printed advertising. And, all these can be achieved without requiring anything additional: if you have a smartphone, you have access to it.
– Enable new business models: generate extra revenue via in-app purchases, virtual goods, and cross-selling. Pokemon Go has already achieved US$1 mil / day of revenue, and you can learn from that too. Using a toy example, a toy company can create a corresponding app that can be played together with a physical toy, enriching the gameplay. At the same time, the smartphone app can offer virtual upgrades and digital goods via the app to create an additional revenue stream. And, when the next toy launches, the toy company can alert the players to pre-order, to view the video trailer, etc.
– Establish a direct sales & marketing channel to your customers, via a mobile app. The Pokemon franchise had video games, trading cards, toys, and other goods, but most of which will require distributing them via traditional distribution channels like toy stores and department stores. If Pokemon Go were a board game, it would have probably needed to fall into a traditional toy distribution yearly cycle: negotiating with retail chains as early as one year ago, in preparation for the pre-Christmas season. But a mobile app can allow the Pokemon franchise, to launch new in-app products whenever it wants, and have direct reach to consumers instead of going through many stops in a distribution. Such practice can also be applied to your brand too.
– Leverage your brand and IP. Pokémon is no doubt a valuable brand and franchise, and they are already continually creating value from their IP via traditional means like cartoons, merchandise, video games, etc. But the Pokemon Go game wisely leveraged AR technology, to unlock even more value from their brand, created a category-defining mobile game. It’s an endeavour of a huge scale, but other brands can also use the AR technology in a smaller scale. One such example would be: allowing customers to take selfies of real-world products with virtual mascots & artwork, and share them on Facebook, Instagram or other social media.
The “Pokémon GO” phenomenon will be morphing, but remains interesting as it unfolds
It has just been the first week of this phenomenon, and it is already changing people’s behaviours in society: e.g. trafficaccidents, or crowdsgatherat your doorstep, or surge in visits to national parks. As more of the mass market adopts, the game and its players will definitely continue to evolve, and there will be more interesting lessons to be learned.