Today, experts identify a number of strong technological trends that determine the development of the global entertainment industry. Thus, the role of technologies that allow to personalize the consumer experience, as well as solutions that allow to simulate a real environment, has grown. Below we will take a closer look at the central technological trends of the entertainment industry.
New generation 5G wireless networks
The advantages of 5G technology are high Internet speed, signal stability and the ability to simultaneously connect a huge number of devices. Data transfer speed is very important in the entertainment industry. According to expert data, every day people spend about three hours consuming online content.
According to PwC estimates, with widespread access to the 5G connection, users will have access to more high-quality entertainment content, games and various services. One of the stop factors for the mass penetration of 5G networks is the high cost of devices that support this technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is transforming the entertainment industry. Technology and entertainment giants, such as Walt Disney World, Netflix, Intel Blizzard Entertainment, Microsoft or Google, are actively working on the creation and implementation of AI-based solutions in the entertainment sector.
Integration of intelligent algorithms occurs simultaneously in a number of business areas: in marketing and advertising, personalization of consumer experience, search optimization on platforms, in expanding the capabilities of virtual and augmented reality technologies and directly in computer games.
Thus, intelligent technologies are used to offer the best advertising and marketing solutions using predictive analytics. Another way to use AI in this area is hypertargeting.
Another area where intelligent algorithms are being implemented is the personalization of consumer experience. We are talking, first of all, about content recommendations. For example, the entertainment platforms Netflix and IRIS compare content with user preferences based on their previous viewing options. AI is also used to optimize multimedia scheduling. Providers receive information about who, what and on which device is more likely to view certain content.
AI-based solutions are used to enhance search functionality on media or entertainment platforms. So, image search or voice search is now possible.
In the segment of computer games, a separate direction of AI is developing – gaming artificial intelligence. The implementation of AI greatly affects the gameplay, system requirements and budget of a computer game. Developers are trying to make an interesting and undemanding AI, but at minimal cost. But the high importance of gaming developments is already being realized at the international level. Thus, the UN highlights the use of game AI to gain a military advantage during real combat operations as one of the key risks of the development of AI technologies.
Virtual and augmented reality technologies
The demand for VR and AR technologies in the entertainment and retail industry is due to the emergence of such global phenomena as "Living Digital Lives" and the Experience Economy. People are spending more and more time in the digital world, and they are no longer paying for the fact of owning any thing, but for the sensations they receive.
Virtual and augmented reality meet these trends, so their popularity is growing.
Today, augmented reality solutions in the field of entertainment are being actively implemented by museums, retail, television and major brands, which are forced to constantly work on creating a new experience for their customers.
Virtual and augmented reality physical attractions have already become an independent industry. But there is still a decline here due to restrictions in leisure activities imposed due to the ongoing pandemic.
The field of computer games for virtual reality technologies is a priority, this is facilitated by the constant technical and software development of game project development.
With the help of VR developments, users can also feel the effect of personal presence at mass events. Such solutions can give a new impetus to traditional entertainment projects.
The use of virtual reality technologies is changing the film industry. Viewers will be able to fully immerse themselves in the film, instead of watching it from the side.
Examples of the use of AR and VR technologies in the entertainment industry
- Hammerhead VR company used VR technology back in 2015 to make users feel like the heroes of the famous American movie "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" (Honey, I Shrunk The Kids). The user puts on virtual reality glasses and finds himself in an ordinary refrigerator. At the same time, the size of a person is reduced to the size of a walnut. The journey starts from the top shelf of the refrigerator and allows users to walk through all the shelves, skirting the products that are stored in the refrigerator.
- The Dubai Mall in Dubai (UAE) opened a virtual reality park in 2018, where you can play cult computer games, becoming their characters. The park offers to rob a bank on Payday, shoot zombies in Walking Dead or drive a supercar in Need for Speed. You can also experience unforgettable sensations in non–gaming reality, for example, paragliding down from the Burj Khalifa skyscraper - the tallest building in the world, which is also located in Dubai.
- In April 2020, the concert of American rapper Travis Scott as part of the Astroworld tour took place inside the cult computer game Fortnite. Travis appeared in Fortnite as a giant cyborg, but outwardly the avatar looked like a performer. During the music event, Fortnite worked according to special rules. Users were not in a standard match, but in an interactive event with a modified map. The huge avatar of the performer danced, teleported, spun the stars in the sky and controlled gravity, scattering the audience. The concert was attended by 12 million people. South Korean K-pop group BTS has also chosen Fortnite to debut their new single in September 2020.
The next stage of merging the virtual and real worlds can be metaverse projects – convergent worlds of compatible spaces. Currently, technology companies from different spheres are actively working on this: Facebook, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Netmarble, YouTube, etc. Users will be able to choose digital entertainment, moving through the metaverse as in the real world, without additional registration and at any time.
Blockchain technology, which is associated primarily with the IT sector and finance, actively penetrates into the segment of computer games, music and film industries.
Today, the global entertainment and media sector is facing a real problem of oversaturation of content. And the main reason for this situation is digital piracy. Users have almost no control over the created content, payment transactions are not transparent, especially micropayments. Blockchain technology just allows you to solve problems related to access to content, asset management and digital rights, as well as the financing of entertainment projects.
Blockchain technology is often used in free-to-play computer games, for participation in which you do not need to pay. But to improve the results, players need to purchase in-game items, artifacts, skins or privileges. In many similar gaming projects, there are difficulties with microtransactions (high commissions, the need for reporting, etc.). Blockchain allows you to perform transactions quickly and with minimal commission. In addition, new tokens can be created in blockchain networks - a local currency reflecting the value of computer game elements.
In the music industry, blockchain technology is used as a database of music files, as well as a system for organizing fast and transparent payment transactions, quick payments of rewards and transparency of the operations themselves. In turn, the transparency of the decentralized infrastructure increases the confidence of potential investors.
Examples of the use of blockchain technology in the entertainment industry already exist and projects are being developed whose solutions can modernize the entire music industry in the near future.
- The Ujo Music platform became famous thanks to the collaboration with the British artist Imogen Heap. In October 2015, together with the singer, the song Tiny Human was released on the Ethereum blockchain platform. The technological solution allowed the singer's fans to pay for downloading music, organizing broadcasts, creating remixes and synchronization. At the same time, all payments began to be made in the Ether cryptocurrency and transferred directly to Imogen Heap and its co-authors. In 2017, a full-fledged platform for musicians was launched.
- Blockchain startup Stem is a platform for music content authors. The project was created in 2015 and allowed artists to upload their music to Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and SoundCloud platforms. After that, content owners have the opportunity to monitor the use of their works and distribute earnings in accordance with programmed smart contracts.
As for the film industry, the use of blockchain-based solutions can become one of the most effective ways to combat digital piracy. We are talking about preventing illegal content leakage, as the new technology allows you to create an immutable record of transactions for any creative work.
Separately, it is worth dwelling on the use of non–interchangeable tokens (NFT) in the entertainment sphere - digital certificates that confirm the user's right to own a digital asset. For example, an image, a video, an audio recording. NFTs were created to transfer unique virtual assets (their source versions) to a reliable digital format for copy protection purposes. Before the advent of NFT, there was no clear fixation of the owner, information about the creator was displayed. Now ownership information and transaction history can be openly stored on blockchain platforms.
NFT has gained the greatest popularity in the gaming industry. Non-interchangeable tokens are used primarily for buying and selling unique game items and heroes. But they can also be applied in other areas of the entertainment industry.
Examples of the use of NFT in the entertainment industry
- CryptoKitties is a popular computer game on the Ethereum blockchain, which was launched in 2017. In the game you can breed, sell and collect virtual kittens. Each virtual kitten is the embodiment of the mechanics of non–interchangeable tokens. The character cannot be copied, he has a unique number, a genome of 256-bit DNA and 12 attributes that can be passed on to descendants (mouth shape, eye color, etc.). The NFT contains information about the creator of the virtual kitten, as well as about his virtual descendants. According to official data, the amount of real investments in virtual pets exceeds $ 100 thousand per character. In 2018, the most expensive character was sold for 140 thousand dollars.
- In 2021, on the International Pokemon Day (February 27), American YouTuber and boxer Logan Paul staged a show with the unpacking of the super rare first printed edition of Pokemon cards on his channel. The decentralized e–commerce platform Bondly turned the excerpts of the video into an NFT on the principle of "one card - one excerpt". A limited edition of 44 NFT was also released with a holographic image of Paul Logan in boxing gloves in Pokemon card format. In total, 3 thousand NFT were put up for sale. The total amount of revenue exceeded $5 million.
According to IT specialists, tokens can be used to signal content owners, search engines and Internet service providers, screening and broadcasting. The popularization of this technology is evidenced by the decision of YouTube video hosting already in 2022 to use blockchain and NFT tokens to monetize content.
Today, the use of robots is one of the new trends in the entertainment industry. Robots are used in the field of amusement parks, the film industry, theatrical productions, the music industry, various shows. Various types of robots are used for entertainment purposes:
Android robots are humanoid robots. Often, to increase the similarity with a person, various organic elements (skin, tissues) are added to the design of androids. They are used as actors in movies, theater productions, TV presenters, songwriters, dancers, flash mob participants, etc.
Examples of the use of robots in the entertainment industry
Today there are already robot musicians, robot artists and robot animators.
- Robots are artists. In 2005, Engineered Arts Ltd began developing a troupe of robot actors to stage a performance at a mechanical theater in the UK. In the process, it became clear that the audience wants to see not just a car, but an actor capable of entertaining, interacting and teaching. As a result, an android robot was created, which was named Thespian, capable of recognizing audio-visual signals and, based on the analysis of the information received, giving responses in verbal and non-verbal forms.
- Robot musicians. In 2013, the Z-Machines music project was launched in Japan, the goal of which is to create a musical robotic system capable of performing pop music that lies beyond the capabilities of human musicians. As a result, a number of unique musical compositions were created. Animatronics created by Japanese roboticists are considered the most sophisticated robot musicians today.
- In the same year, a professional robotic group Compressorhead was created in Germany. The band performs cover versions of songs by AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Panthera and other rock bands. There are 6 animatronic robots in the group: a vocalist, a drummer, two guitarists, a bass guitarist and the smallest robot playing on cymbals. Animatronics record tracks, go on tour and play ordinary musical instruments.
- Animator robots. According to experts, such android robots have the most complex functionality of all of the above. So, robots can tell fairy tales and stories, make riddles, and give coupons or flyers for the correct answers. Tasks can also be multimedia. In robotic animators, a camera can be installed to print photos. Especially for working with children, the robot can change its height.
Animatronic robots are complex robots in the form of a human or an animal, programmed for all the necessary movements: they reproduce facial expressions, can walk and pronounce certain phrases. They are used during entertainment events in public places, for example, in amusement parks or theme parks, when filming movies, as well as in museums.
Robo-suits is a suit made of plastic and other materials, with elements of animation and, sometimes, robotics (moving/glowing eyes, facial expressions, etc.), which the operator puts on himself. Robot costumes serve to entertain the public, and can also be used for filming movies in which people play the roles of robots.
Robomechs is a type of exoskeleton, usually characterized by large sizes. The operator can control the actions of the robot, being inside it or by remote control. Today, robomechs are used to entertain the public at mass events. Some experts suggest that robomech fights can become new spectacular sports.
Some experts consider the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated limitations to be a kind of impetus for the development of the digital entertainment sphere.