San Diego Comic-Con is always much more than a gathering of comic and cosplay fans. SDCC is the exclusive epicenter for announcements and sneak-peaks at the largest entertainment series from Marvel to Walking Dead to Overwatch, leading it to become one of the biggest experiential marketing playgrounds. This year, location-based experiences had a big role.
LBE VR at Comic-Con
While there were smaller installations like the VR dome promoting Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos, Comic-Con brought out some of the biggest LBE VR installations to date.
Amazon dedicated a 60,000 square foot outside installation to a VR experience promoting the upcoming series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. The free roam experience has physical props in reality to match the virtual world. With the help of Optitrack tracking and Oculus Rifts, users are guided through an intensive experience involving be lowered by a helicopter, crossing across buildings on a board, fighting enemies through a rooftop, ziplining off of the building, and driving away in a military vehicle, all while in a VR headset.
The experience is impressive, both from a technological and physical standpoint. Hard to miss, the experiential marketing installation takes location-based VR experience to a new level.
AT&T also rolled out an LBE VR experience to promote the second season of Mr. Mercedes. The installation featured a VR escape room using an HTC Vive. Unlike the expansive Jack Ryan experience, the Mr. Mercedes game could potentially be released on a larger scale.
LBG AR at Comic-Con
Both AMC and Sony Pictures are releasing location-based AR mobile games.
Shortly before SDCC, a new Walking Dead mobile app was released, Walking Dead: Our World. The mobile game has moderate interest on both Android and Apple smartphones, lacking the initial reception Pokemon Go and or even Jurassic World Alive apps had. Sony Pictures demoed their upcoming LBG AR app, Ghostbuster World at SDCC. The application is set to launch later this year.
Though Pokemon Go has set the standards for LBG AR, AMC and Sony's games are more than just a Pokemon Go clone, creating a unique experience for the IP's world. Location-based AR is becoming a legitimate genre of mobile games and it will be up to brands to break free of the shadow of Pokemon Go.
Other Immersive Experiences at Comic-Con
Gaming studios used Comic-Con to help promote VR titles to the IPs biggest fans. Oculus previewed the soon-to-be-released Marvel Powers United VR. The game is an exciting upcoming release featuring Marvel's biggest heroes and baddest villains in a four-player co-op fighting game. The Rift-exclusive game will be a draw for Marvel fans, but will it be enough to convince consumers to invest in the headset? Oculus is releasing a Rift bundle for $399 with Touch controllers, which is the current cost of the system.
In addition to the LBE AR game, AMC's The Walking Dead and Skydance Interactive are releasing a VR game in 2019, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. The newly announced game has little-released details beyond the game being set in a flooded New Orleans. A short teaser was available at SDCC but it is unclear what platform it will be released on or the game mechanics of the title.