LucasFilm and Lenovo build AR 'Star Wars' experiences with new headset
- Disney subsidiary LucasFim and Lenovo have teamed up for a smartphone-based augmented reality (AR) headset that will bring "Star Wars" experiences like lightsaber fights, Holochess and epic battles to users, as reported by Fortune.
- Some of the games for the AR headset were previewed at Disney's D23 Expo by Mike Goslin, VP of advanced development at Disney, including battles with life-sized Stormtroopers, a circular Holochess board and pint-sized Rebel Alliance forces moving across a carpeted bedroom, per Fortune. A preview video also seems to depict a lightsaber peripheral.
- The project’s focus on AR rather than the more immersive virtual reality (VR) experience could be an indication that smartphone-enabled AR might be a more attractive technology than the more expensive VR hardware, Fortune speculated .
AR broke into the mainstream last summer with the viral hit game Pokemon Go, an app that gave marketers a blueprint as to how the technology could tie together the mobile experience with the offline world. Disney clearly wants to tap into that high level of engagement, and the sustained cultural draw and often rabid fandom around "Star Wars" might overcome some consumers' reservations about buying into standalone AR hardware as opposed to just a mobile app.
Late last year, the International Data Corporation forecast a 196.4% compound annual growth rate for AR headsets over the next five years compared to 100.7% for virtual reality (VR) headsets. Major media and entertainment companies like Disney investing in their own hardware and also emerging technology startups via the Disney Accelerator program points to the growing interest in the space and might spur more mainstream adoption.
While the rollout is still somewhat slow, there has been a growing number of AR- and VR-driven marketing campaigns this year, especially in entertainment. Last month, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Dell announced VR and AR experiences for the release of "Spider-Man: Homecoming," and Universal released a VR experience for "The Mummy."