In anticipation of his presentation at Future of Immersive Leisure in Las Vegas, September 13-14, 2017, we asked Ryan Wang, Co-founder and General Partner at Outpost Capital, a few questions about the immersive entertainment ecosystem.  Check out his interview in relation to his Future of Immersive Leisure presentation entitled, Exploiting Alternative Financing and Monetization Models for VR and AR Location-Based Entertainment Content.

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

A: Instead of the amount of technology in their lives, it’s the amount of alternative entertainment options. Entertainment attractions and experiences are not competing with technology itself, but competing with the other entertainment options – watching, playing, reading, traveling, etc.

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

A: Yes. It impacts a lot. Many details in this process can directly affect the user experience, e.g. how does the customer fit their glass into the headsets? How long it takes for consumers to set up? How soon can they pick up the system (especially first-time customer)?

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

A: On 2 aspects: 1. Quality. The quality of the experience need to reach a level that’s way beyond what home entertainment can offer. 2. Social. It’s rare to see people go to movie theaters alone. It’s natural for people to social around an out-of-home setting, and when it’s been leveraged, it could be very powerful.

Q: Why isn’t there an officially recognized qualification in development skills in this industry?

A: Because it’s an emerging industry and everyone is still learning.

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

A: Obviously AR and MR. I really like the idea of “Shared Reality”, which have been initiated by Microsoft, with a goal to achieve tele-presence across all hardware platform, no matter one has a VR headset, AR headset, cellphones, on TV or laptops.

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

A: Not necessarily. Immersive attractions and experiences is already a solid industry and will survive a long time no matter what. Social, out-of-home entertainment experience is not something replaceable. That being said, for the industry to thrive, new technology will be developed and adopted to keep upgrading the quality of customer experience.

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

A: Short term it could be. VR at the current stage is easier to be adopted by the out-of-home sector compared to consumer sector. However, in the long term, when VR hardware has evolved into a light-weighted, comfortable and portable device, the consumer market is going to pick up and become the largest market for VR.

Q: Is there any opportunities for entrepreneurs in out-of-home immersive entertainment sector? 

A: Yes. Out-of-home immersive entertainment is a great way for everyday consumers to access immersive technologies, and eventually drive the consumer adoption of VR/AR. The key here is that instead of focusing on existing market, which is a small market, the entrepreneurs should focus on creating a new market by offering products that drives the adoption.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges to the out-of-home sector going forward? 

A: 1. Financing. The current market is small, thus early financing is essential; 2. Content. There are not many AAA immersive content available, and the cost of producing AAA content is high. 3. Foreign markets, the Asian market in particular. Out-of-home entertainment have been adopted in Asia at a much faster pace, thus it’s an opportunity and a challenge at the same time for US-based companies.

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Don’t miss Ryan’s presentation, Exploiting Alternative Financing and Monetization Models for VR and AR Location-Based Entertainment Content, at Future of Immersive Leisure on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at 4:20 pm.  Click here to register for attendance.

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