Samsung Gaze-To-Play

As the entire experience Samsung required had to last about two-and-a-half minutes, we had to be very selective about what we chose to include. Every section had to be long enough for people to immerse themselves. On top of that, we had to create a logical narrative woven throughout the experience. And all this for a headset created by Samsung and Oculus, virtual reality leaders. No pressure… no pressure at all…

  • play a simple game
  • experience something extraordinary
  • have an interactive, stylized experience
  • watch a video in a theaterwatch a 360° video

As users progress through the experience, a voice-over supplies additional details about Samsung products. The experience starts in a movie theater. We wanted people to ease into something familiar, to have a recreation of a real-world experience. The theater screen projects an image of Earth. Suddenly you are teleported into space and are floating above the Earth with the same vantage point you had in the theater.

We wanted to recreate the feeling of awe of the first Samsung VR Introduction video. That feeling of seeing Earth from space, and truly believing you are there, brings the most intense emotional response that virtual reality can provide.

After seeing the Earth from space, the next logical step was to descend back to Earth and show that VR trully can transport you anywhere in the world. However, after the out-of-this-world experience of  being in space, it was important to follow this with a truly amazing globallocation.

We chose Plitvice Lakes, one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe, famous for its cascading lakes and waterfalls. For this occasion, we filmed the park using a Samsung Gear 360° camera.

The next step was to progress from a real magical forest to an imaginary magical forest. We wanted to show how stylized experiences widely used in VR can also be immersive. This was also a perfect moment to start adding interactive elements. We created a serene magical forest scene where you can create a soothing ambience sound just by looking at tree tops.

The goal was to show that virtual reality isn’t a passive experience, but one where you really are a part of this virtual world. At this point in the experience, enough time had passed for people to have adjusted to virtual reality. It was the perfect moment to give them an adrenaline rush, by revealing the vast range of emotions that can be experienced in VR.

We decided to use a roller coaster, especially as it made narrative sense.
This is a great way to give people an adrenaline rush in virtual reality without creating motion sickness. Generally, roller coaster rides last for two to three minutes, but we only had 30–40 seconds to play with. Luckily, we have experience in constructing roller coaster rides.

We managed to condense the experience to include both an ease-in to the ride as well as a huge, dramatic dive to create excitement. At that point, most people started to comment on how their bodies felt as though they really were on that ride.

And on that adrenaline note, we decided to finish the experience with a space race game. At this point, people had already had a glimpse of interaction in virtual reality, so a fully interactive experience was a fitting conclusion to this experience. However, we needed tobuild something very intuitive so people could immediately start interacting.

We created a simple game where you control the movement of a spaceship just by looking around, and in which you need to collect as many energy orbs as you can. At first we intended it to last 20 seconds. However, after the client tried it, they asked us to extend it to 45 seconds because everybody loved it. At this point of the experience, people started saying “This is so cool,” because they were no longer passive observers. I want a go!! They had immersed themselves in the experience.

And on that note, the experience ends. Because of the hugely positive feedback, the Samsung VR Introduction video was used to launch the Gear VR headset at more than 50 events.

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