Immersive experiences are increasing in demand as fans want more from event organizers.
Fans are increasingly turning to immersive experiences for a more enhanced entertainment adventure. Accelerated by the pandemic, more and more people are adopting newer technologies that enable them to dive deeper into experiences. According to eMarketer1, in 2022 there were approximately 102 million monthly augmented reality users and 64 million monthly virtual reality users. This is up 43% from 2019 as a collected mixed reality group.
From AR and VR to the Metaverse, fans are finding themselves surrounded by a plethora of opportunities to be immersed in their chosen experience. Concerts, conferences, and pop-ups are utilizing a full stack of technology to curate immersive works of art that leave the fan begging for more.
Below are a few trends and examples of immersive experiences and how fans are engaging with them.
Trends and Experience Examples
Several large brands and events are currently turning towards immersion techniques to deliver out-of-this-world experiences for their fans. Mobile gaming, web3, and extended reality (AR, VR & MR) technologies are making it possible for creators to connect more closely & personally with individual fans. This supports an experience's lifetime value by providing a reason for fans to come back again and again.
An OG: Pokemon Go Uses Augmented Reality
Digitizing and becoming accessible to all with a smartphone, Pokemon released Pokemon Go in 2016. Using augmented reality, players move around in the real world to engage with Pokemon in the virtual world, 3D mapped to match one's local surroundings. The game encourages & rewards those that travel more, enticing players to explore their local areas and new places. This in turn provides revenue opportunities for the Pokemon company.
The immersion one feels is top-level, but showcases the raw power of augmented reality. As technologies continue to develop, we’ll see more brands taking on AR in their marketing strategies and experiences using augmented reality to engage with fans differently.
Enter Thee Hottieverse with Megan Thee Stallion
Over the Summer of 2022, Megan Thee Stallion entered the Web3 universe by creating Thee Hottieverse - a Metaverse performance accessed via virtual reality devices such as Meta’s Oculus in partnership with AMC Studios.
While the cost of the “live” performance averaged $400+ per ticket, Thee Hottieverse has announced that consumers will be able to access and watch the performance using AmazeVR’s app for just $6.99. This allows anyone with a smartphone to watch Megan Thee Stallion’s performance via mixed reality from the comfort of their homes. Yes, it’s a different experience than the virtual performance over the Summer, but this still provides an easy look into new trends for those shy to adopt at first.
360° 3D Mapping with Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Using 360° 3D mapping, the audience immerses themselves in 500,000 cubic feet of monumental projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s works of art. Attendees wander through entrancing, moving images that highlight brushstrokes, detail, and color – truly illuminating the mind of the genius.
This has allowed attendees to immerse themselves in Van Gogh’s work, empowering a deeper connection with the artist. An emotional connection can be made as one wanders through Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888) and Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), cascading into one’s desires to come back for more.
Decentraland's Metaverse Music Festival 2022
Becoming one of the biggest Metaverse music festivals in the world, Decentraland’s global lineup of artists featured 15 unique stage designs with performances across a wide variety of genres, as well as new interactive experiences. The event was presented together with Kraken to provide a free experience for all to attend, no ticket or headset was required.
To drive mass adoption, Decentraland enabled the concert to be viewed online. Empowering non-web3 natives to access the benefits of a globally connected community showcased the power of web3 technologies, even in its infancy phase.
Coachella Goes Web3 with NFT Ticketing
Making headlines every year, Coachella did it again with top acts including Harry Styles and Lizzo in 2022. However, it wasn’t only these global superstars that were attracting media attention: it was Coachella’s NFT Collectibles.
Accessing exclusive benefits such as lifetime membership, VIP lounge access, and free premium merch, pass holders showcased the power of an NFT ticket collection. This new experience adds a layer of FOMO to yearly attendees that future NFT collectibles are sure to come. In addition, current pass holders can be airdropped with rewards and free passes for upcoming events to ensure they return year after year.
Technologies Associated with Immersive Experiences
Extended reality consists of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality; an umbrella of immersive technologies that are revolutionizing the experience industry. These technologies are empowering event creators to go beyond the ticket stub and provide a more immersive experience for fans.
Utilizing virtual reality, fans can be set in front of their favorite celebrities for a meet & greet experience, or connect with like-minded fans around the world as they explore other worlds. The abilities are limitless but are necessary to implement for experiences to differentiate themselves from a technologically-advanced generation.
Immersive technologies need to be able to work at the speed of light to provide a proper experience for the fans. That’s where 5G comes into play. Increasing both the bandwidth and speed of the network, 5G empowers more devices to connect to the same network while also providing a more powerful experience.
Though global 5G infrastructure is still in its beginning stages, those areas adopting the technology are seeing the benefits for themselves.
Becoming widely adopted through developers such as Meta, Decentraland, and The Sandbox, the Metaverse is a digital world where one can engage with a global community in a myriad of ways. Living life through an online avatar, fans can immerse themselves in otherworldly experiences, but also connect their digital lives with their real ones.
Many event creators are taking advantage of phygitals - digital items & collectibles from IRL experiences, and vice versa. When a fan engages with an IRL or virtual aspect of an experience, it’s connected to the opposite phygital item.
Web3 and NFT Ticketing
A catalyst for many current abilities of immersive experiences, web3, and more specifically NFT ticketing, are providing a better experience for both fans and event creators. In addition to the above capabilities outlined, NFT ticketing provides the security and the gateway to unlocking a whole new world.
Go beyond the ticket stub by always providing your fans with more value than a piece of paper. The ticket should be a phygital representation of life’s experiences, while also ongoing enticement to keep returning for more. The human psyche yearns for creative entertainment far beyond what a live concert or festival can provide.