If only Taylor Swift’s mobile game was made for VR (Wired UK)


Screenshots from The Taylor Swift Experience

Taylor Swift/RadicalMedia/Amex UNSTAGED



Screenshots from The Taylor Swift Experience

Taylor Swift/RadicalMedia/Amex UNSTAGED


My first thought upon hearing that Taylor Swift had released a
free iOS and Android
game
 version of her “Blank Space”
video
for fans was: “what a girl! Taylor just has all the best
ideas. I’m going to download that immediately.”

My first thought upon actually playing the game within The
Taylor Swift Experience was: “this is awesome, but would be even
more awesome if it was compatible with Oculus Rift/Google
Cardboard.”

Let me explain. The game relies on you exploring the mansion set
of the “Blank Space” video, either following Swift, her beau or
other characters from room to room, or exploring on your own while
the song plays out. The aim is to find “collectibles” hidden around
the mansion, which include polaroids of Swift’s cats, portraits of
ex-lovers with old lyrics scribbled on the back, and framed
pictures of Swift as a child. There are around 40 in all, and I am
yet to find them all — these are just a few of those I’ve
discovered so far.


Screenshots from The Taylor Swift Experience

Taylor Swift/RadicalMedia/Amex UNSTAGED



Screenshots from The Taylor Swift Experience

Taylor Swift/RadicalMedia/Amex UNSTAGED


You can play as many times as you like, but you do have to go
back to the beginning of the track every time. Fortunately, “Blank
Space” is up there as one of the best tracks on 1989, so
no hardship there.

To explore the mansion, you have to either swipe around the
screen or tilt the phone, navigating with the help of the
accelerometer. It’s pretty fun, but in a fraction of a way it would
be if you could enter the music video using virtual reality.

In their MTV heyday, music videos were big news, but rarely do
they get people talking these days. Sure, they can be popular on
YouTube, but it’s been a while since I personally was excited about
music videos. The prospect of applying virtual reality to them,
however, and making them into interactive, gamified experiences has
left me feeling pretty jazzed.

Swift explains in some bonus videos in the app that they
basically had to do loads of extra shooting with 3D cameras to make
the game, which has been distributed for free. This is obviously
not something every artist could afford to do — but if in the
future they want to incentivise people to buy albums, this is the
kind of bonus content that could well win people over.

The Taylor Swift Experience has been made as part of the
American Express Unstaged series, which up until today has involved
only concerts under its banner. It’s an experimental project, but
one that shows there is so much potential for breathing new life
into older formats like music videos — using mobile for now, but also hopefully bringing
in new technologies, such as virtual reality, as they come.

VR is admittedly still fairly niche, but with Google and Facebook both working with their own
strategies to try and make it mainstream, it won’t stay that way.
And just as with mobile, once the delivery mechanism is in place,
the content will come.

I predict that purists will suggest such experiences are
gimmicky or diluting the impact of music, but ultimately,
technology — whether that is social media or virtual reality — is
changing our relationship with artists and content across all
entertainment formats, music included.

As Swift proves, artists can own this. Delivering interactive
and immersive experiences will strengthen relationships with fans,
could well strengthen album sales and may even remind us why we
ever loved weary formats like the music video in the first
place.

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11 November 2014 | 6:04 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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