WIRED | 7/20/2019 | Peter Rubin
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HBO's Watchmen bringing an AR experience to Comic-Con International? I was in. Virtual reality has been a mainstay at the convention for some time now, but AR hasn't—and with new mixed-reality wearables coming to market since the last Comic-Con, I could think of a dozen ways that the anticpated show could leverage the technology. Maybe it would combine human actors with a Microsoft HoloLens, the way FX did to promote Legion a couple of years ago. Maybe I would put on a Magic Leap and interrogate Rorshach—or, more likely, vice versa. Since HBO wasn't bringing a Watchmen panel to the con, the network must have splashed out on something memorable. It must have.

Then I walked into the tiny blue booth. I saw the Microsoft Kinect pointing at me. I realized something crucial. The good news is that VR and AR are officially big enough to be like any other medium at Comic-Con. The bad news? A lot of it just isn't going to make much of an impression.

HBO - Experience - AR - Front - Kinect

That's not to slag HBO, or the experience. Calling it AR isn't incorrect. You stand in front of the Kinect while its depth cameras establish your body's position, then watch on a monitor as a nuclear accident transforms you into blue-skinned, superpowered Watchmen character Dr. Manhattan. The whole thing lasts a minute or two. You get a video of the process in your inbox afterward—all the better to post on social media, my dear. It's fine. But fine isn't what you want from VR and AR, especially when studios and networks are ponying up for splashy, line-attracting, word-of-mouth activations. Especially especially in 2019, when the phone in your pocket can damn near do the same thing.

Across various experiences at Comic-Con, that same shoulder-shrugging phenomenon played out again and again. Oh, you've got a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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