Skoda Auto partners with Brainz Immersive to develop an immersive VR racing game, Bare Tree Media joins the TikTok for Business Marketing Partner Program, Evox Images’s RelayCars opens a virtual showroom for desktop devices, and TeamViewer allows users to launch remote support and AR connections from within Microsoft Teams
This edition of The Reality Wire brings news of immersive technology gaining traction as a marketing tool.
To mark its 125th anniversary, Czech automotive manufacturer Skoda Auto partnered with local creative studio Brainz Immersive to develop an immersive VR racing game—that comes with a 3D printable custom-designed steering wheel.
Skoda Auto has made the gamified marketing experience available for free on the Oculus SideQuest platform. It was originally scheduled to appear at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this year.
Releasing this game on Sidequest while pairing it with a free blueprint for a custom-designed 3D printable steering wheel is a canny marketing move by Skoda Auto. In doing so, the automotive manufacturer is both overcoming the limitations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and capitalising on the huge popularity of Oculus Quest.
Even more impressive is the 3D printable custom-designed steering wheel and its impact on immersion. Created by the Red Dot Award winner Jakub Stedina, the headset’s two controllers can be embedded in the printed skeleton, allowing a gamer to experience haptic feedback generated by collisions on the racing circuit as they would if they were driving for real.
The game itself, called Škoda Time Machine, puts gamers in the driving seat of 10 major Skoda Auto models manufactured over the past 125 years.
It also includes a playful driving adventure wrapped in an attractive visual interface that allows gamers to see the milestones marking the progress of the automotive industry. A global leaderboard lets them record their scores and compete against others from around the world.
Art director Lucie Jančová, who was in charge of the game’s visual direction at Brainz Immersive, said: “Within the game, you don’t just observe a chronological list of events. There is a whole, fantastical world filled with funny visual hints and witty references.”
“With every ride, you’re immersing yourself ever so deeper into the environment consisting of historical bodywork and engine parts. We cooperated with the Škoda Museum, so we even included vintage advertising designs and the original technical drawings of the cars.”
A trailer for Skoda Auto Time Machine
US AR studio Bare Tree Media, meanwhile, has joined the TikTok for Business Marketing Partner Program, designed to connect advertisers with creative and technology providers that can help them achieve success on the TikTok video-sharing platform.
Bare Tree Media will create branded 2D and 3D AR effects for clients of TikTok, as well as introduce new clients to the platform.
Melissa Yang, head of ecosystem partnerships at TikTok, explained that the aim of the programme is to build “new opportunities for marketers to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community”.
Yang continued: “We’re thrilled to collaborate with some of the most strategic and trusted leaders in the advertising industry and continue giving marketers access to more tools to successfully create, measure and optimise ad campaigns on TikTok. We can’t wait to collaborate with partners to bring a creative and joyful experience to our brand partners and the broader TikTok community.”
The Reality Wire turns to the retail sector now and news from Evox Images’s RelayCars, a VR car shopping app, which has opened a virtual showroom for desktop devices.
Up until now, RelayCars’s immersive technology has been accessible via mobile app on smartphones, tablets, or certain VR headsets.
Through either the RelayCars website or the mobile app, shoppers can take a virtual tour of any vehicle category, year, make, and model from Evox Images’s extensive database.
“During this period of uncertainty, we are working hard to navigate through the changes in our daily routines and processes,” explained Gina Callari, chief operating officer of Evox Images/RelayCars. “While we stay safe at home and wait for dealers to open their doors again, we are excited to make our online car shopping technology even more accessible for customers.”
Finally, an interesting development at remote assistance specialist Team Viewer. The Reality Wire is dedicated to unearthing stories that might not attract headlines but are otherwise significant in what they might mean for immersive technology. An integration with an established, widely used platform is one such story.
TeamViewer now allows users to launch remote support and AR connections from within Microsoft Teams, a collaboration platform that has proven vital to businesses during the pandemic.
Users can download the TeamViewer app from the Microsoft Teams store, log into their accounts and immediately share TeamViewer invites for remote control or AR connections with their colleagues in one-to-one or group channels.
The TeamViewer Pilot AR tool allows users to virtually point and draw in a colleague or customer’s field of view to demonstrate in detail what to do, as well as share files, type and talk.
Product teams can also instantly share access to all required devices and environments with the rest of their working groups.
Having the ability to do all these from within Microsoft Teams is key for an intuitive user experience and higher productivity, according to TeamViewer.
Alfredo Patron, executive vice president of business development at TeamViewer, said the integration will give “Microsoft Teams users even more options to collaborate and increase productivity regardless of location”.