Thursday, June 14, 2018

At Snapchat, Redrawing the Bounds of Reality -- NYT

From an augmented reality reality check
"In light of the medium’s sci-fi potential, Snapchat’s 3D Bitmoji animations are relatively primitive. Philip Lelyveld, director of immersive media at the University of Southern California’s Entertainment Technology Center, said the cartoons were “one step ahead of Pokémon Go,” the mobile game that  first created mass awareness of A.R. in 2016. Helen Pappagianis, an A.R. researcher and author of the book “Augmented Human,” likened 3D Bitmoji to silent films in the early days of cinema.

The equivalent of blockbusters, which will rely on special headsets like Magic Leap’s Lightwear and Microsoft’s HoloLens, are in development. And Facebook (which owns the virtual reality company Oculus), Apple and Google have all moved in the last year to make it easier for third-party developers to create new kinds of A.R. experiences for mobile phones.

But Snapchat’s animators here in Los Angeles have already created the medium’s first hit series, thanks to uniquely appealing main characters that are flipping, dancing and pratfalling their way into the hearts of the company’s 191 million daily users. While Snapchat doesn’t share viewership numbers for 3D Bitmoji, a spokeswoman for the company told me that 70 percent of its daily users are using their Bitmoji avatar on the app."
At Snapchat, Redrawing the Bounds of Reality -- NYT

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