Digital Avatars Finally Get Their Big Mainstream Moment, Now What?
Google’s Playmoji, Apple’s Memoji, and Samsung’s AR Emoji all score big at the 2019 GRAMMY Awards, but how do they stack up against Possible Reality’s INTRACT, a product that puts the user directly inside the augmented reality and gaming spaces?
It’s been nearly ten years since the word avatar was popularized in the contemporary lexicon, ushered into the modern vocabulary by the blockbuster film of the same name.
A decade ago, most people associated the term avatar with giant blue creatures in a far away planet, but thanks to the growth and development of augmented reality technology, avatars, the ones of the digital variety, are finally breaking through into the mainstream, in part by recent products like the Google Playmoji, Apple’s Memoji, and AR Emoji by Samsung.
Earlier this month, all three companies purchased lucrative commercial advertising space to broadcast advancements in their digital avatar products during the 2019 GRAMMY Awards. The show was viewed by a national television audience of nearly 20-million people, and was one of the biggest trending topics on social media
No surprise one of the biggest hits on GRAMMY night, aside from performances by Cardi B, Lady Gaga, and Post Malone, was a 60 second commercial spot featuring Record of the Year and Song of the Year winner Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, dancing alongside his digital counterpart.
Advertising the Playmoji from Google, Glover and his digital doppelganger danced in synch, and then in a battle form to “Human Sacrifice,” an unreleased Childish Gambino song. Showcasing advanced rigging and locomotion, the Playmoji product was a great fit for an artist like Glover, who also took home Best Rap Performance and Best Music Video for his song “This Is America.”
Fellow award winner Ariana Grande also unveiled a personalized digital avatar during the GRAMMY broadcast, although Apple’s Memoji strips away the body and motion aspects of avatar creation, utilizing only the face. It’s a product designed for text and social media communication -- as a personalized reaction sent to friends most likely -- and the obvious limitations make it more of a novelty than a real advancement in avatar technology creation.
While the Memoji product, like Samsung’s AR Emoji, continues to push the cartoon-looking faces of older and outdated avatar technology, Google’s Playmoji aims for a middle ground between true digital likeness and unrealistic characters. And while the Childish Gambino character -- which scales up to full human size, allowing for one-on-one dance offs -- is a fun feature, the limitation of the product is its singular purpose of viewing a number of pre-animated characters in an augmented format. It’s novelty, and not much more.
Understanding that the market for digital avatars is still young, we’ve designed our INTRACT avatar creator to meet the current demands for products like Playmoji, although Possible Reality emphasizes our desire to bring lifelike avatars into the AR space and beyond. Much like the Childish Gambino avatar can dance, our avatars -- which are really your avatars thanks to our proprietary technology that allows customers to create personalized avatars -- can move around environments. For now, however, we’re developing specific gaming environments, like our first product “ResARrect,” which puts the player in the role of a zombie hunter.
Beyond our current focus on the gaming sector, our next foray, which is already underway, involves bringing lifelike digital avatars into pre-existing augmented reality platforms, creating new solutions for early AR adopters. Consider IKEA’s existing AR app, for example, which allows customers to see how certain pieces of furniture will look in their houses and apartment. Wouldn’t it be be just as interesting to see how you look relaxing on that new couch? Our fully scalable INTRACT avatars have that capability.
The same can be done with AR apps in the fashion industry, with companies like H&M, which are already experimenting with augmented reality shopping. But in the case of clothing, makeup, and accessories, it is up to the user to decide if they prefer a lifelike avatar or an enhanced version, which circles back to the Playmoji and Memoji products, which offer no flexibility for those who prefer photorealistic avatars.
So, while INTRACT’s true competitive advantage is the near instantaneous creation of lifelike digital avatars, Possible Reality also understands the desire for some flexibility in avatar creation. Fortunately, our interface offers easy to use customization options, delivering avatars that are both realistic and enhanced. It’s truly the future of avatar creation technology.
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