The early reviews are in from the SXSW Film Festival, and it looks like Steven Spielberg’s latest film, an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s book Ready Player One, is going to be a hit.
And which virtual world has the official Ready Player One movie tie-in? Why, that would be Sansar! (I bet that Philip Rosedale and his staff at High Fidelity are gnashing their teeth.) Aech’s Garage is a lovingly created, beautifully lit, and painstakingly detailed experience crafted by Linden Lab’s Sansar Studios, Intel, HTC Vive, and Warner Brothers, full of Easter eggs referencing 1980s pop culture. It should be a jaw-dropping introduction to VR to many people.
What will be interesting to watch is how Linden Lab plans to leverage interest in the Ready Player One movie into potential user engagement with Sansar in general, and the Aech’s Garage experience in particular. What have they got planned? They haven’t said, yet. (I’m willing to bet they have a second experience hidden away somewhere. They surely wouldn’t let this golden opportunity pass them by.)
This is a very similar situation to the CSI: New York TV show tie-in to Second Life back in October 2007. There was a recent poll of users in the ever-active Second Life Friends group on Facebook, asking how they discovered SL, and a surprising number of people mentioned that TV episode as their introduction to Second Life. Likewise, the Ready Player One movie may become many people’s first exposure to Sansar.
(Then again, I remember that the Second Life tie-in from CSI: NY had some degree of game-playing and interactivity to it, instead of just wandering around admiring the beautiful scenery. Although the situation is getting better (HoverDerby is a stellar example), the lack of interactivity in most Sansar experiences is a big problem in keeping new users engaged and coming back for return visits.)
So obviously, Linden Lab is hoping that the movie will be a success, and will drive people to try out Sansar. We’ll see what happens when the movie opens on March 29th, 2018.