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Virtual Reality: Is this the final frontier for children's entertainment? | @BobbyThandi


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Dubit's Bobby Thandi presented at the Bookseller Children’s Conference in London on 27th September 2016.

His talk was on "Virtual Reality: Is this the final frontier for children's entertainment?"

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Virtual Reality: Is this the final frontier for children's entertainment? | @BobbyThandi

  1. 1. Virtual reality: is this the final frontier for children’s entertainment? @BobbyThandi (VP Digital) Hello! My name is Bobby Thandi. I’m VP of Digital at Dubit. We’re a kids digital and consulting firm. We consult for clients such as Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, and make games for clients such as Mattel, for whom we made the Bob the Builder: Build City which reached the no.1 position as a paid kids app in 25 countries, as well as for PBS KIDS, DreamWorks, and a Puffin Rock app to name but a few. We're also heavily involved with VR - working on research, development and distribution. I’m going to talk about Virtual Reality. And answer: is this the final frontier for children’s entertainment? If you give this question some thought, the majority of people would say “no”. There’s always another technology around the corner and as Donald Rumsfeld would say “there are unknown unknowns” - in other words - who knows what the next frontier will be for children’s entertainment. However, in my opinion, I think VR is the final frontier for children’s entertainment. And there’s two key reasons why I think this. I’ll mention those two reasons at the end of my presentation. Firstly, the running order for next 9 minutes…
  2. 2. Confidential - Dubit - 1. What is VR? 2. What do I need to know? 3. When will it be big? 4. What’s currently happening? 5. Why is VR the final frontier in kids ent. 2 These are the 5 sections of my presentation 1) What is VR, 2) What do I need to know 3) When will it be big 4) Whats currently happening and 5) Why is VR the final frontier in kids entertainment So What is VR? Virtual Reality is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them like a TV, or an iPad, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. VR IS A GAME CHANGER - THE ABILITY TO INVOKE FEELINGS AND GIVE A SENSE OF PRESENCE AS THOUGH YOU’RE ACTUALLY THERE - MEANS IT WILL BECOME THE NEXT BIG PLATFORM. EVEN GOLDMAN SACHS HAVE SAID THAT VR WILL BE BIGGER THAN TV WITHIN 10 YEARS TIME.
  3. 3. Confidential - Dubit - 3 Here’s an example of VR and people’s reactions to using it. The hand controllers allow for natural gestures, folks can write their name and physically move around in the real world, which is reflected in the virtual world. And this HTC Vive demo was created in only 2 week by 2 of Dubit’s developers. And the great thing here is the visceral feeling of when the tree falls down - folks actually move out of the way because they think its going to land on their head! Even though they know the tree is virtual, they cant help but move out of the way.
  4. 4. Confidential - Dubit - 1. What is VR? 2. What do I need to know? 3. When will it be big? 4. What’s currently happening? 5. Why is VR the final frontier in kids ent. 4 In my opinion, we’re very much at the nascent stage of exploring VR. Lots of folks are trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. A useful analogy is when the first video recorders came to market in 1888. To begin with people began by recording theatre shows. They’d put the camera in front of the stage and record the entire show. It took 10 years before British film pioneer Robert W. Paul made ‘Come Along, Do!’ that featured two separate shots that were edited together. It feels like where at a similar stage with VR… we’re trying to figure out what works well and what doesn’t, and the killer VR experience in gaming, film, and TV, is still yet to be made. Knowing this, if I’m a book publisher, I’d be negotiating for the VR rights of any new IP that I sign as I think there is a tremendous opportunity on the horizon…
  5. 5. Confidential - Dubit - 5 And where is this opportunity? Well, I think it’ll be accessed through a smartphone. This graph shows the trajectory of smartphone sales, its insane compared to PCs and mobile phones. We’ve currently got 2b smartphones in existence now, and projected to hit 6b by 2020. As a comparison, only 100k HTC Vives have been sold. What does this mean? Well, if I’m thinking about creating a VR game, it’d be a mobile VR game - so I can reach the largest audience.
  6. 6. Confidential - Dubit - 6 VR is predicted to be a big-money business. With software accounting for an estimated $25b in revenue by 2020
  7. 7. Confidential - Dubit - 7 24% 68% That said, an issue facing the success of VR is that unless you’ve tried, you just don’t get how awesome it is. A Nielsen survey of 8,000 consumers found that 24% of respondents said they will likely use or purchase VR in the next year, but after some of the folks tried a VR headset that figure increased to 68%.
  8. 8. Confidential - Dubit - 1. What is VR? 2. What do I need to know? 3. When will it be big? 4. What’s currently happening? 5. Why is VR the final frontier in kids ent. 8 When will it be big? Well, there are 5m Google Cardboard headsets in the wild and Samsung reported there are 1m MAUs of the Samsung Gear VR. And a VR game called Raw Data earlier this month lay claim to be the first VR game to reach $1m in sales within a single month. I think VR will go big, as in, you’ll have a good chance to be financially successful with a VR game or experience within 18 months. As I’m expecting Apple to announce their VR initiative in 12 months time, which I think will propel the VR industry forwards in terms of users having access to headsets. And next month Google is launching their new VR mobile platform called ‘Daydream’ which includes a hand controller - thus allowing for immersive, interactive VR. And all these folks will be looking for a good content to consume.
  9. 9. Confidential - Dubit - 1. What is VR? 2. What do I need to know? 3. When will it be big? 4. What’s currently happening? 5. Why is VR the final frontier in kids ent. 9
  10. 10. Confidential - Dubit Most popular virtual reality app store In terms of GAMING, there are about 1,500 VR titles. They can all be accessed at . Shameless plug for Dubit as we co-own, designed, developed, and launched WEARVR which is the world’s largest VR app store and it has content from all the VR platforms. And we recently hit 1.5m downloads of VR games. Its worth noting that about 80% of the content is from smaller indie-developers, and only 20% from professional gaming studios. Meaning quality content quickly rises to the top of the charts.
  11. 11. Confidential - Dubit Venture funded VR content platform for kids Given Dubit’s heritage in kids entertainment, we recently launched BoggleBox…
  12. 12. Confidential - Dubit Its a VR platform for safe, fun, carefully curated VR content chosen specifically for children, with parents in mind.
  13. 13. Confidential - Dubit Here’s a demo of the app… basically kids get to browse an array of different games… can quickly preview the game with a 360 screenshot… and if they like it, they can play the game by placing their smartphone into a cardboard headset.
  14. 14. Confidential - Dubit In terms of animation, Henry by Oculus Story Studio won an Emmy earlier this month. Its a short VR animation about a hedgehog who hurts his fellow friends when he gives them a cuddle.
  15. 15. Confidential - Dubit Here we have Gary the Gull. This will be an interactive VR animation. The founder behind Motional, the studio making this short is ex-Pixar and his aim is to make interactive VR animations - one where you get to step into the world and interact with the characters - so you the viewer - actually become part of the narrative. This appears to be where the future of VR animation is heading. This is obviously way more expensive than a normal animation production as you need to program and account for so many narrative branches.
  16. 16. Confidential - Dubit - 17 ExpensiveInexpensive High Immersion Low Immersion On this chart I just wanted to quickly provide an overview of the different VR headsets and how they differ in terms of expense and immersion. The Google cardboard is super cheap, with many being given away for free or being sold for between £10-£15. Mattel’s View Master VR headset costs £22 and the lens provide a slightly more immersive experience, and with the headset being made of plastic, it feels sturdier than a standard cardboard headset. The Samsung Gear VR provides a very high quality VR experience. Costing £79 the improved quality of the lens are noticeable, as well as the increased comfort level. Google’s Daydream VR headset will only run on new Android smartphones comes with a controller, thus allowing intuitive interactions. The PS4VR is due to launch on 13th Oct, and will cost £750. With two hand controllers and head tracking it’ll be more immersive than the Daydream. The Oculus Rift CV1 feels light weight to wear, has a pair of ear pads built into the headset that provide 3D surround, and currently works with an XBox1 controller and it also features positional tracking. The HTC Vive includes 2 hand controllers and allows you to experience room scale VR (ie you can move around in the physical space). This delivers a much more immersive experience. The Void takes VR to the next level and here’s a short video showing it in action…
  17. 17. Confidential - Dubit - 18
  18. 18. Confidential - Dubit - 19 Also, I must mention Magic Leap. For those that don't know, its a startup based in Florida that has kept its technology super secret and yet it has a company valuation of $4.5 billion dollars. What we do know is that it’ll offer MIXED REALITY. Where virtual objects will be seen in actual reality. Basically a laser will be beamed into your eye that will project a virtual image through your retina, meaning your eyes will think what its seeing looks real… here’s a promotional video showcasing this point… first in slow motion, then normal speed…
  19. 19. Confidential - Dubit - 1. What is VR? 2. What do I need to know? 3. When will it be big? 4. What’s currently happening? 5. Why is VR the final frontier in kids ent. 20 Here’s two reasons why I think VR is the final frontier in kids entertainment…
  20. 20. Confidential - Dubit - 21 Reason no.1. This is Palmer Luckey who at age 22 sold his VR company called Oculus to Facebook for $2b. I met him a couple of years ago and he comes across as a very intelligent person and is a reputable person to quote. For example, Palmer says: “VR is basically the ultimate technology. It is potentially the final computing platform. This is generalising, but if you have perfect virtual reality, you don't have to perfect much else.” If you think about it, VR will allow you to be see anything you want to see, go anywhere you want to go, time travel and teleport, and be fully immersed in that experience. What else could there possibly be beyond VR? All that said, Palmer came out on Fri just gone as a supporter of Donald Trump. So I’m not sure I trust his judgement anymore!
  21. 21. Confidential - Dubit - 22 Reason no. 2. For those who don’t know this is Elon Musk. He’s the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. In total he’s responsible for 31,000 staff and he’s worth $12b. So when he says something I take note. On VR this is what he said: “Forty years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot. That’s where we were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality.” His thinking is that we might all be living in a virtual simulation already, and if not, the virtual reality we’re making today, is one step towards that.
  22. 22. Bobby Thandi, VP Digital @bobbythandi Thank you for your time. If you’d like to chat further or get a copy of my slides, please do get in touch. Details are on screen. Thank you!