AR eSports *on Demand*

Imagine being able to view a gaming arena through your own smartphone, literally using the device as a window into a computerized world where players battle for supremacy. How amazing does that sound? That hypothetical is actually a reality, and it’s one that I’ve experienced just today!

Guns-of-Boom-Game.png

Although the first-person shooter, Guns of Boom, isn’t new, it’s one with a very unique draw of having an augmented reality (AR)-enabled spectator mode, which was just released on Android today. This mode allows you to watch the entire map and the players in it from a bird’s eye view. Although that in itself isn’t very unique (many games allow you to do so), GoB empowers you to make your living room the playing field. When you boot up the app, you may choose to be an AR spectator. The game then prompts you to find a flat surface with sufficient area in order to lay down the map of whichever match you’re viewing.

This video is a wonderful example of how seamless the experience can be, and how AR takes spectatorship to another level. With a wave of your phone, your living room turns into a firefight, allowing you to zoom in as close as you want to view alleyway battles as if you were a drone hovering mere feet above the action. The experience is only further enhanced by the fact that the game runs at 60 frames per second on most phones, making the viewing buttery smooth with absolutely no stuttering that could easily break the immersive experience.

Guns_of_Boom_AR_Mode

I was astounded to learn about such an innovative feature being available on something as simple as our smartphones. It reminded me how powerful the processing capacity is in our little, rectangular devices. With a single app, your mundane living room, bedroom, etc. is transformed into a living battleground arena, providing for potentially hours of entertainment. If you didn’t break eye contact with your screen, you would be hard-pressed to believe the action you were viewing was just laid before you in your own home! Only at certain angles would you catch a glimpse of a chair leg or tablecloth, reminding you that you’ve been sitting on your couch with a family-sized bag of Doritos, staring at your phone and waving it around for the past two hours. However, I believe that the presence of such everyday objects within the line of sight only adds to the amazing fact that we are using technological marvels for pure entertainment. What a time to be alive!

In the long run, I think this is a wonderful way to increase the speed of eSports adoption. Why not monetize this method of viewership? Forget the standard, boring commercials of the old days. What if an AR can of Coke or Sprite randomly rolled by during intermission? How about having a game mascot casually stroll into the field of view during a break period to take survey data about a company’s new product launch? The possibilities could be endless with the engaging touch of AR added to the traditional marketing mix. In an AR-focused marketing scenario, everyone with a capable smartphone (read: nearly everyone in the US) becomes a new customer for the latest soft drink, subscription service, or food delivery platform. By creative lucrative opportunities for companies to pour more advertising funds into eSports, the industry as a whole will only benefit. Personally, I’m excited to see what kinds of things AR can do for other games. Regardless of how other companies decide to integrate AR into their entertainment, I’m sure the results will only become increasingly impressive, following the technological leaps and bounds that have characterized our mobile and digital devices.

7 comments

  1. Nice post, Mike! Having just read a post by @oliverhowe14 on Tyler Blevins making roughly $500k per month from people watching him game, this post really sends home this idea that Esport spectating is big business. As a gamer myself I still cannot understand why people want to watch others game but I could see this A/R revelation making it novel and engaging enough to make me try it. From a marketers perspective, I love your ideas about how sponsorship or advertising campaigns could take advantage of A/R in the marketing mix.

  2. Going off of what @kylepdonleysaid about Tyler Blevins, it is absurd that E-sports gamers are getting paid $500k a month to just play a game and live stream it for people to donate. For a marketing perspective, I think that companies should allow the apps or games to generate and pick up popularity within the gaming community before they start infiltrating the games with ads because in the beginning, you just want the users to enjoy the game as much as possible, and with no ads they will be able to play a lot longer without getting frustrated about ads stopping their game. Once the app has gained notable popularity, then the companies can slowly integrate their adds into the app to be able to generate revenue, but a full blown campaign right in the beginning of the app’s existence will likely scare away many customers and frustrate them

  3. Great post @mqzhang! VR is making a comeback in so many ways, much in part to what technology is able to do with it. From live sports to mobile gaming, VR is the new wave of digital consumption. Much like what Wayfair, IKEA, and other companies are doing with VR augmented “rooms”, gaming companies are doing the same. To further expand your topic, PlayStation is also testing out a new form of VR which includes IMAX features and possibly a new* device. The creative endeavors for VR are very much exciting.

  4. Really like this post, Mike. It seems like AR is making quick advances and it makes me think about playing video games in elementary school and thinking “this is crazy, how are graphics ever going to get better than this”. If you go back to any game from 5-10 years ago, those unbelievable graphics now just seem boxy and outdated. Relating this to AR, it gives me a lot of optimism that AR can quickly grow into a truly spectacular visual.

  5. I feel like that AR spectating would have a future in the professional e-sports commentating. As for right now, camera angles cannot cover the entire play field, and the camera man needs to switch from scene to scene to capture the moments for the viewers. And of course they would have missed crucial moments as well. I actually YouTube-d what Guns of Booms looked like through a AR, and the trailer actually shows a high-definition graphic to spectate. However, given GOB is a mobile game, the processing power required to achieve the same level for a PC games, like CS, or Starcraft would be way higher. But I imagine the future, technology like this would let people watch more closely to the game play without missing anything.

  6. Interesting. Definitely going to have to check this one out!

  7. Nice post Mike! I really like your ideas on how companies could be using this tool as a marketing concept. It might be something like ads before youtube videos where you have an option to skip to get to the game? Since people have short attention spans companies wouldn’t be able to use this type of advertising the way TV commercials are, they would have to adapt to a more internet friendly marketing campaign. It would be interesting to see if the game takes on sponsors that could show up on the map which would be a more subtle marketing approach. It will be interesting to see if this form of gaming takes on a large following since you do need a table or large space to show the map on. In a smaller apartment, this might be harder to find! overall great post!

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