Consumer AR Is A Go
Lenovo/Disney Celebrate Success Of Consumer AR With Free App Updates
On January 25, 2018, Disney and Lenovo celebrated the successful fall launch of the Lenovo Mirage AR Headset and Lightsaber controller combo, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, which has sold several hundred thousand units online and through retailers like Best Buy. The free app, which the comes with the Lenovo Mirage AR headset and bundled Disney Star Wars Light Saber, has just received a robust update that features a chance to duel two Praetorian Guards at the same time, three new Strategic Combat levels, and the introduction of Porgs as in-game AR-enabled rewards.
I raved about the Mirage, first consumer AR HMD, when it launched November 3, 2017, in this piece on Forbes: Why Lenovo’s ‘Star Wars: Jedi Challenge’ Is The $200 Device That Will Define AR. I said “Within 15 minutes I had downloaded the app and snapped my iPhone 8 into the sleeve mount and slid into the top of the plastic headset. The system works exactly like you think it would. A stereoscopic image on your phone is bounced onto transparent plastic lenses to create the illusion of ghostlike “holograms” in the real world. Even with the phone in it, the headset is extraordinarily light and comfortable. It sits lightly on my face. I can wear my glasses underneath it and there’s plenty of room, and lots of air circulating, so there are no heat or sweat issues from extended use. The set up was close to plug-and-play.” And I also asked a question: “What happens a month later after everyone’s gone ‘wow’? Junior’s burned through Jedi Challenge, put it on the shelf and goes back the mayhem of LOL, COD or GTA on PS4?” Disney and Lenovo just answered that question.
“Our research indicates there are more than 30 hours of gameplay in the app. In fact, only 40 players have reached the final level and ‘beaten’ the game.” said Mike Goslin, Disney VP for advanced products. “AR is secondary to the experience of becoming a Jedi.” Goslin admitted without shame that when we spoke in November he was coy about the future of Jedi Challenges expansions, but today he says with pride that his team “has a year’s worth of content in development.”
Jeff Meredith, SVP of Lenovo’s Consumer Business was similarly excited about the success of Jedi Challenges. He was also cognizant of what this means for the Mirage AR Headset, without Star Wars. “Mirage is a platform, and it can work for a lot of different IP.” Lenovo has gone all in for AR and VR. Their Lenovo Explorer headset for Windows MR launched in December, and shortly their Mirage Solo, for Google’s Daydream platform, will be introduced.
Here’s a link to my original Forbes story on the Lenovo Mirage AR HMD and Disney’s “Star Wars: Jedi Challenge”, which you can buy on Amazon. This is the only commercially available AR HMD for consumers, although several competitors are on the way, like the $99 Mira Prism on the low end, and Kopin Solos on the high end. Both are expected to launch before the summer. All the other promising AR HMDs for consumers, such as the Vuzix Blade, and the ODG R-8, are still expensive and for developers only (who write their own apps).
This post was originally featured on Forbes.com on February 05, 2018