In anticipation of his presentation at Future of Immersive Leisure in Las Vegas, September 13-14, 2017, we asked Ralph Barbagallo, Founder of FLARB LLC, a few questions about the immersive entertainment ecosystem.  Check out his interview in relation to his Future of Immersive Leisure presentation entitled, Creating Breakthrough Mixed Reality Games and Entertainment for Leisure Facilities.

Q: The use of immersive technology in the entertainment sector away from the home, what are the issues?

A: The top issue is cleanliness–how do you sanitize wearable devices quickly and thoroughly in-between sessions? Or how do you deliver an immersive experience without a wearable device? There’s also the revenue issue–how do you make an immersive installation cost effective with the added overhead of attendants, delicate hardware, and lower customer throughput?

Q: The use of digital media in attractions, what are the key issues?

A: The age old problem of competing with what people have at home, or in their pockets. You must provide an experience that simply cannot be compared to anything currently available on PCs, consoles or mobile devices.

Q: Is the new audience for attractions and experiences a harder audience to entertain because of the amount of technology in their lives?

A: I think that people are much more comfortable with technology which makes them more likely to try new and novel experiences. But the bar is definitely very high.

Q: Is the loading and unloading issues with VR technology impacting the experience?

A: Yes–not only does it add to the amount of time it takes for a customer to go through and experience, but users have definite issues with the process. People don’t want to have to be helped in and out of a headset, especially in the presence of other people. Making the process as smooth and fluid as possible is a top pain point to solve.

Q: How can the digital out-of-home entertainment industry stay ahead of the home entertainment scene?

A: Treat physical spaces as a platform, not one off experiences. You have to develop solutions that can be deployed, updated, and improved rapidly and remotely to keep customers satisfied with fresh new experiences and operators with more revenue sources.

Q: Why is there no officially recognized qualifications in development skills in this industry?

A: This generation of immersive leisure has just begun. There are a lot of self-styled experts making it hard for those without experience to tell who can really deliver.

Q: What other immersive technologies beyond VR are you looking at?

A: Mixed reality, both on headsets such as HoloLens and Avegant and advanced phone AR solutions such as ARKit and Tango.

Q: Is it essential to have new immersive attractions and experiences every few years to survive?

A: That seems like a long time in-between new attractions.  Entertainment technology does not age well–immersive attractions should have multiple blockbusters yearly, like films do.

Q: Could VR be more important in the out-of-home sector than in consumer application?

A: “Important” is a relative term, as VR has profound implications outside of just games and entertainment.  Many of these experiences could be delivered both out-of-home and on consumer devices.

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Don’t miss Ralph’s presentation, Creating Breakthrough Mixed Reality Games and Entertainment for Leisure Facilities, at Future of Immersive Leisure Thursday, September 14, 2017 from 1:15 to 2:00 pm.  Click here to register for attendance.

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