There are plenty of amazing uses for augmented reality (AR), and there are some that should just be disregarded. Disney is diving head-first into one that just shouldn’t happen. In advance of the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the entertainment giant is going to be promoting the new film using AR. I don’t think we really need Star Wars augmented reality. In fact, I think it’s inane, and I’m a huge fan of the franchise.
Do You Really Need Admiral Ackbar in Your Living Room?
No, it’s not a trap, that’s really what Disney has in mind. Not exactly in your living room, though. In the “Find the Force” promotion, folks with the Star Wars app will be able to visit any of 20,000 participating retail locations. Those stores will display a graphic that users will have to scan with their phone.
Scanning the store’s graphic will unlock a character within the app, one of 15 that will rotate through the three-day run of the promotion. Presumably, you’d need to visit at least 15 times, probably to different retail locations, to unlock all of the characters.
Unlocking characters will also add a “data chip” to the user’s app, which can in turn by used to unlock other digital rewards. These will include video clips, but there might be other possibilities.
Yes, Disney, We Know You Own Star Wars
It’s all just too much, in my opinion. When The Force Awakens and Rogue One were released, Disney promoted them so heavily that many of the most stalwart fans of the franchise were … disenfranchised. They got tired of the hype and hoopla, and wound up not even watching the films. Or, they waited for the movies to be released to Bluray or digital before viewing them.
Adding this AR weekend stands to do the same thing. I get it, it’s a way for the company to make a few bucks off partnerships with the retailers and possibly the franchised products sold during those visits. But the over-commercialization of the Star Wars films is truly getting out of hand.
Let’s See Some Useful Utilization of AR, Could We?
Apple has made it clear the company wants augmented reality to be more accessible to users and app developers alike. The launch of ARKit has made it much easier for developers to tie in surface and object detection and tracking, light estimation, and other elements by integrating camera sensor data and CoreMotion data into their apps.
I want to see that technology used for something beyond just an experience like Pokémon Go. I don’t need to take a picture with Admiral Ackbar to prove I’m a Star Wars fan, and neither do you. We need this technology to prove its mettle in solving real-world problems, not just gimmicks like Star Wars augmented reality.