Future Shock — Again22 Jul, 2016 By: Stephanie Prange
The annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit took place July 18-20, and as usual it helped us all unpack the constant change in the industry. While we heard some disappointing news about physical disc sales, there were bright spots in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray sales and hits such as Deadpool. Executives from the Entertainment Merchants Association, which puts on the event that also benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, told the crowd about the trade group’s continued work in creating standards for digital distribution — the future of the industry.
The Tech Tour and a panel explored virtual reality. Attendees at the Tech Tour could play catch with a virtual dog (and stick) and shoot virtual space invaders. It was an eerie contrast with the 1980s-themed arcade games at the Paramount lot — which included the classic Space Invaders game with which those of us of a certain age grew up. Meanwhile, famous DJ Richard Blade mixed tracks from the 1980s with more recent hits. It’s perhaps fitting that the theme of the Paramount lot party was “Star Trek,” a franchise that has spanned the decades.
While we were all contemplating virtual reality, another new form of entertainment, augmented reality, was taking the country by storm. A certain day in July, I heard a shriek from my teenaged daughter’s room. Was she injured? Did something horrible happen with a friend or boyfriend? No. She lamented the fact that the Pokémon Go servers were down. A new form of entertainment had emerged, and it was consuming her entertainment time — and causing her to yell in frustration.
But was it really new? The concept of Pokémon Go is based on an older franchise, one that my daughter grew up with and is nostalgic about. It was the connection to her past — and to content that she loved — that drew her into this futuristic world of augmented reality.
Augmented reality is yet another format to connect viewers to content — something we in the home entertainment business have seen and navigated numerous times. Recently, we’ve focused on 4K Ultra HD with HDR, offering a better, more realistic picture for home entertainment viewers. Whether we bring the consumer along with us depends on how compelling our content is, whether new or old.