The idea is that the joint project allows, unlike cinemas, to create highly interactive 3D experiences

In these ecosystems, in the long term, consumers could even touch, smell, and explore fictional environments

According to Punchdrunk, the idea with Niantic arises from forms of entertainment such as haunted houses

In the wake of the pandemic, movie theaters have been among the businesses worst affected by the almost total paralysis of the economy. Not only do they not have alternative ways of generating income in the midst of the pandemic, contrary to other businesses in retail or the restaurant sector. Furthermore, since they are on a relatively low scale in the degree of business required, they are being left until the end of the reopening. To their disgrace, a new threat has formed.

According to ., Niantic has just announced a new joint Augmented Reality (AR) project that could threaten the movie business. The studio behind the hugely popular Pokémon GO said it is working on a platform for « immersive theater experiences » with Punchdrunk. This production company in New York created the show Sleep No More, where people can experience a work in various rooms at their own pace.

The Niantic and Punchdrunk project is expected to « reinvent storytelling for the entire 21st century audience and expand the horizons of interactive entertainment. » The idea is for the production company to generate narratives and experiences across various spaces, just as it did with Sleep No More. For their part, the creators of Pokémon GO would build all the necessary pieces to bring this project to life with the use of RA technology.

Why is it a threat to theaters?

Slowly RA has become a more attractive technology for brands. Amazon recently started using it to ensure a healthy distance between its collaborators within the warehouses. Pinterest already uses this innovation to encourage purchases on its social network. And in the automotive sector, there are several applications that could exist in the future. But the above does not answer the question of why cinemas are at risk with this project.

Related Notes

There is a very simple answer. This joint initiative by Niantic and Punchdrunk has the potential to offer more interactive and flexible experiences than in traditional cinemas. Not only is the narrative intended for consumers to weigh at their own pace, a critical factor that improves both personalization and the overall engagement rate. With the use of RA, there is the potential for a remote deployment.

Perhaps, for now, Niantic and Punchdrunk will only be able to create projects that can be carried out in physical spaces designed precisely for the narrative they want to tell. At this stage, theaters don’t have much to fear. But as AR and productions become more refined, it would not be unreasonable to think that users will be able to enjoy them from home. Something deadly, since the pandemic created habits that favor these practices.

Other barriers for the living room industry

Sure, innovative technologies like using AR for interactive narratives aren’t the most pressing fear for theaters. Agents like Cinépolis are concerned with how the communal experience of the rooms will be preserved with the new demands on hygiene. Other Cinemex-style brands fear a substantial reduction in their business if they are not allowed to reopen in a matter of days. And to that must be added the concern about streaming.

There are also other longer-term fears for movie theaters. According to CNBC, as in many sectors, this industry will have to rely more on technology to give people the healthcare experience they demand. The New York Times, for its part, reaffirms that perhaps a more premium experience could be what these companies need to regain their post-COVID glory. But the BBC believes that no matter the changes, they will be preserved in the future.