New immersive technologies: when cultural creation puts you in all your states

Arnaud Chapé, Managing Director of The Edge in the 11th arrondissement of Paris and Valentin Raymondeau, director of New Technologies talk about the factors to consider for a positive virtual reality experience.

In partnership with Welcome City Lab, Tour Hebdo and Quotidien du tourist offer a weekly series from the trend book created by this innovative tourism laboratory.

Here, Arnaud Chapé and Valentin Raymondeau look back at the user experiences of virtual reality and describe the elements that should not be overlooked.

Immersive technologies: has the revolution happened?

Between projection and reality, the observed difference can be quite significant. Inclusive technologies market forecast from 2018 to 2022 is far beyond the current market. Despite this gap, there is still a strong upward trend in the sector.

Far from declared hegemony and its explosion in everyday use, immersive technologies have enabled the emergence of new players and new experiences that complement historical fun activities.

Virtual reality, still unknown to the general public

Three main families make up immersive technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. In this article we will focus on virtual reality.

In 2019, the penetration rate of virtual reality was 41% among the French (Virtual reality and immersive experiences in France: what uses? – National Center for Cinema and the Animated Image – 2019). In fact, at THE EDGE, we find that a very large portion of the population has never tried or only tested virtual reality experiences via mobile phones or at events with certain first-generation headsets which can provide disappointing experiences.

To the general public there is no difference between a VR arcade room, a VR escape game and a hyper-reality experience. However, the quality of the experience varies wildly between products and between players.

Comfort before, during and after the experience: VR from 11 to 77 years old

The same virtual reality experience can be experienced very differently from one individual to another. A significant part of the population may be susceptible to digital and physical effects : a disease associated with the opposition of perception between the information provided by the eyes and that provided by the vestibule (the balance organ located in the inner ear). As one of our team members is extremely susceptible to motion sickness, we have been particularly careful in our development in order to create the most comfortable game possible for our customers. And the results are there as in more than 1500 players, no unpleasant sensations were felt during the experience thanks to the efforts made during the development.

Beyond the nausea problem in virtual reality, room hygiene and player safety (drops, shocks), are important elements that can mark customers if not managed as a priority. At THE EDGE, we make it a point of honor to provide the most comfortable experience possible for our customers.

Immersion and sense of presence

Immersion refers to the characteristics, for example technical, of the system used, while the sense of presence is its psychological consequence. (Slater & Wilbur, 1997).

While we can define and measure immersion (computing power, refresh rate, etc.), the sense of presence is inherently subjective, and therefore variable depending on the individual (Maneuvrier-Hervieu, 2020). In summary, an experience using the best immersive technologies will not necessarily be the one that will provide the greatest sense of presence to the audience. We had to develop our knowledge for more than two years in order to get the best possible result in our Ganymede experience by proposing, among other things, a written experience accessible to all.

Ganymede is an unforgettable virtual reality experience that can be played by 2 to 4 players, to be experienced with friends, family and/or co-workers.

Multiplayer, successful game writing and story, superior graphic quality combined with physical sensations: we offer an ultra-immersive and cooperative experience.

In addition to high graphic quality, we add physical sensations that create what is called hyper-reality.

When a giant spaceship approaches, you feel the earth shake under your feet, when it passes, you feel a breath of wind blowing you, when you see its reactors in front of you, you feel heat. You live the experience with all your senses.

Tested by the feedback of our customers, our experience attracts all kinds of audiences and we have seen this thanks to a satisfaction rate of more than 98%.

In conclusion,creating ultra-immersive works requires special knowledge: between development and artistic creation. Once this step has been taken, facing the public and analyzing the reactions quickly shows whether the bet has been successful.

At the end of 2022, we will open our first major hyper-reality center in the heart of Paris. By 2024, we will be able to open these centers throughout France and gradually internationally.

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