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Jan 022012
 

Originally published (& cross translated?) Oct 2011 in Wired Magazine ‘Change Accelerators‘ by Gary Hayes 5 of 5

Image by Gary Hayes

“Anyone up to battle aliens at the local museum tonight?”

It might sound like a farfetched idea at the moment, but this question may soon be another option rather than the old invitation to go see the latest 3D blockbuster at the Cineplex. The previous four posts talked about major experiential paradigm shifts, where more and more people desire to be ‘inside their entertainment’ —literally. The need to watch a show or read a good book in isolation will never go away, but right now, a new form of immersive entertainment is taking hold that sees users hyper active online and more and more participatory outside of their homes in unique, social story locative experiences. These shifts leads us to confront some basic questions, like, “What is an experience?” and “Are some experiences more engaging than others?” as well as some not-so-basic ones, the all-important, “Who will create all these new experiences?”

Designing any new media format is challenging, especially when the goal is to create highly engaging pervasive entertainment, that is more compelling than what already exists. Since the grammar has not yet been invented, for many, it presents a quantum creative leap. Right now, there is still conflicting opinion about what to call these new types of distributed stories—and let’s not mention the transmedia wars!

One of the greatest challenges for professional storytellers, who are accustomed to traditional linear plots, is to transition into a new platform. Rather than writing straight lines to be delivered from a stationary stage or studio, they are now being pushed to create content for a shifting stage or multiple shifting stages at once— often in different cities or time zones. Given the growing appetite for this type of connected, collaborative, dynamic content, the well-established line between audience and producer is becoming increasingly blurred. Right now it remains to be seen if conventional storytellers will adapt to these new demands, or if they will be outpaced by users themselves. User who are as voracious (and in some cases as adept) in creating content as they are in their insatiable consumption of it.

I was trawling the web the other week looking for a good description of levels of experience and how to design for them. What I discovered, however, is that, much like the missing lexicon, there isn’t a lot of science to this yet either. To fill the gap for now, I created a diagram to explore increasing levels of experience or engagement: It begins at the first level of physicality as the least complex and builds its way up through mental engagement, then social inclusion, and finally the emotional and spiritual levels. These last two being the hardest ones to deliver. Narrative games, like L.A. Noire and the earlier Heavy Rain and Indigo Prophesy, are brave examples of games trying to develop emotional, interactive responses (albeit skipping most of the real social & physical elements).

For audiences in the developed world, 3D and 4/5D cinema is gradually moving into the home and has the potential to make box office visits unnecessary – not worth the added effort. Audiences are starting to expect more value and more payoff for their play time (and trouble): For many, a trip out of the house to be entertained is a transmedia experience in itself. This forces new entertainment providers to seriously take these “audience journeys” into consideration. Likewise, since marketers have begun to tell more interesting stories across places and platforms, traditional writers need to get up to speed on these changes as well. Take for example, a recent holographic product display for Lego. These types of interactive promotional events work to increase the expectations across the board for what is possible in terms of entertainment.

However, film is also slowly catching up. The internationally renowned artists’ group, Blast Theory created a locative cinema project called A Machine to See With, which is a good early evolutionary example. Less about sensory immersion and more about a healthy combination of imagination and locative storytelling, the project allowed viewers to “live” inside a cinematic story unfolding on the streets of Brighton, England. According to the San Jose Biennale last year, the experience mixed documentary material, stolen thriller clichés, and the films of Jean-Luc Godard to let participants walk through the city and receive phone calls, stepping into bit parts or leading roles.

These steps are evidence that now would be a good time for these types of indie projects to start receiving the big-budget attention that clunkers like Phone Booth did. Entertainment is truly moving toward a variation of the infamous Star Trek Holodeck, a complete surround experience that fools our brains into thinking “this is really happening” or “we are really there.” Experiences can either be delivered through layered digital storyworlds, or peppered your everyday life through fragments and bits so that your real world starts to become the storyworld.

Parallel to this transmedia trend, there are complete virtual screen environments of game driven and socially focused spaces known as MMOGs (massively multiplayer online games). These alternate “worlds” are host millions of peoples ‘minds’, melded into the characters they are playing. Many approach a game with the same gravity as a method actor taking on a new role, wholly losing themselves in an alternate reality. The way people interact with these virtual selves is also rapidly changing – making new interface technologies like the Xbox Kinect and iPad/tablets some of the fastest-selling items in history.

These new forms of entertainment will require creators to become writers of place and time, creating relevant and game-like personal experiences. Let’s imagine a simple future? You are at home watching a story experience teaser on your surround 3D head mounted display. You decide to rent it with some friends and project it on your wall-size, AR home cinema screen. It sets up the challenges; you all become the heroes. You all don in-earphones and sporty AR glasses, which have tiny cameras connected to a 6G network that point out and down, tracking the external world, as well as body movements and speech.

You undergo a physical and mental training exercise in your home to prepare for the outdoor challenges. You walk outside and start to explore your city. The open park becomes a fully rendered fantasy environment; urban streets and buildings are layered with story and critical game information. You have X-ray vision; you can see inside coffee shops and stores. Past and future scenes play out before your eyes. You talk to digitally rendered, artificially intelligent characters who respond to specific questions. You work as a team and add your own story challenges. An iBrain scan afterwards let you record your experience for others in 3D.

Welcome to your personal experiential entertainment Holodeck. Of course, you can turn it off at any time and read a good book or watch a film. But that’s so 2011.

  66 Responses to “Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired”

  1. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  2. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  3. Are you Experiential? by @GaryPHayes t.co/B3FFeBIp

  4. Are you Experiential? by @GaryPHayes t.co/B3FFeBIp

  5. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  6. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  7. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  8. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  9. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  10. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy? RT @garyphayes Experiential Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era t.co/EgUewNAU

  11. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  12. RT @garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/3Z5FOaw9

  13. RT @GaryPHayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/E4sgV9JA

  14. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/jjYttGqu

  15. Are you Experiential? Article t.co/5WTEMBxr #garyhayes #transmedia #storytellers

  16. #garyhayes Article t.co/5WTEMBxr #transmedia #storytellers Are you Experiential?

  17. #garyhayes Article t.co/5WTEMBxr #transmedia #storytellers Are you Experiential?

  18. Nicely written. Experiential entertainment is definitely the way to go, 2012 and beyond.

  19. Technology is growing fast and the people are starting to get confused on what to focus. If you love something new today, before you get used to it, another good technology comes to replace the previous one.

  20. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/INPz7kNm

  21. Lets get out of the box! Experiments are always good at trying out new things, ideas and even music!! triggeredmadness.wordpress.com/

  22. RT @garyphayes Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 W.. t.co/zVSxBSXY

  23. Thanks for illustrating the levels of experiential media. Only a few a able to reach the highest level. Which level do you think is the most stimulating?

    I think it’s the emotional level.

    Interesting post as always!

    -Benedict

  24. Exploring new things is not as bad as they’ve thought they would be. Sometimes we need to try innovative measures to help us improve.

    Thanks for the information.

    Johny Sy

  25. RT @garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/9fR4UsF5 @snapini

  26. RT @garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/9fR4UsF5 @snapini

  27. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era: t.co/qGKRsVu6 via @garyphayes #socialmedia #entertainment

  28. Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/odx0VQDY

  29. I love the portrait by Gary Hayes. I would love to be a part of your personal experiential entertainment Holodeck. How do I do that?

    -Adam

  30. I constantly seeing a lot of ideas and applied innovations in the internet. People who are looking for ways to enhance the experience and improve the quality of entertainment are brilliant. As consumers, we are always waiting what advancements will come next. I am impressed with the efforts they have made to make the movie experience different and more exciting.

  31. excellent article RT@garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era -Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/4bCrtBku

  32. excellent article RT@garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era -Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/4bCrtBku

  33. Are you Experiential?Designing for Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired mag t.co/U1i3CrwB | article by @GaryPHayes #media

  34. Glad I learned the building blocks of experiential media. There are 5 levels and which one do you think has the most impact to viewers?

    Thanks for sharing these levels! I learned a lot!

    -Heather

  35. RT @garyphayes: Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/pBqUadKd

  36. I can read that ‘good book’ later, but as of now, I’m going to try this out.

    Thanks for sharing.

    -Louisa

  37. A busca pela experiência: os 5 níveis que uma marca deve percorrer t.co/kf8xzNbf

  38. A busca pela experiência: os 5 níveis que uma marca deve percorrer t.co/kf8xzNbf

  39. A busca pela experiência: os 5 níveis que uma marca deve percorrer t.co/kf8xzNbf

  40. RT @inovadoresespm: A busca pela experiência: os 5 níveis que uma marca deve percorrer t.co/iU9CVyqj (em inglês)

  41. A busca pela experiência: os 5 níveis que uma marca deve percorrer t.co/kf8xzNbf

  42. Your opinion is right. Now a days 3D and 2D animated movies are being populated day by day. I also addicted my animated movies. Who is the creator of the pic?

    Thank you,
    Wyatt

  43. Kinda Interesting Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Bey #deanmbb #contentblogging t.co/HwbU1sre

  44. “What is an experience?” and “Are some experiences more engaging than others?” as well as some not-so-basic ones, the all-important, “Who will create all these new experiences?””

    Yep, “why” is the most powerful question; no matter what you’re trying to experience. The more you ask it, the more successful you will be.

  45. I learned so much tonight. Thanks for that infographics of the 5 levels of experiential media. Which movie can you name that depicts all five levels?

    -Hero

  46. Great post by @garyhayes on experiential media. Brings to mind Tim Kring's groundbreaking "Conspiracy for Good." t.co/fj6TAKrn

  47. Hello i am Glenn Verdult

    I enjoy reading your articles

    I am looking forward to read more..

  48. #GaryHayes Are you Experiential? Designing for the Pervasive Entertainment Era – Beyond 2012 Wired t.co/eSI6oM4U

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