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VRScout Creators Of Pokémon GO & Sleep No More Partnering On AR Theater Experiences

Since its introduction, the promises of augmented reality developers have always outpaced the real-world use of the technology. To date, the only predominant and comprehensive consumer experiences in the domain of AR have still remained Pokémon Go and a smartphone-optimized AR app that measures objects. Despite its lofty demos and highly-rumored plans of AR items, the advancement of the domain would require not just impactful hardware, such as Apple’s U1 chip or the much-anticipated AR glasses, but also innovation in the field of immersive experience. A prime example of such experiences is the immersive show “Sleep No More” produced by the theatre company Punchdrunk.


In their latest effort, Punchdrunk has joined forces with the AR development giant Niantic, the company behind the massively popular AR game Pokémon Go. Together, they have announced a collaboration that will span across multiple projects. The details of their debut project, including what would the project look like, what might it bring to the audience, when it would launch, etc. all remain as closely guarded secrets. However, considering the potential of both the developers’ earlier projects, it can be safely stated that the outcome will be nothing short of amazing.

Immersive Expert

Punchdrunk is already considered a veteran in the field of immersive experience. They have already dabbled in the field of virtual reality and augmented reality with projects like #believeyoureyes for Samsung Gear VR and mobile gaming in partnership with Silverpoint. Their signature piece ‘Sleep No More’ takes the audience on a journey through a series of virtual rooms where they can roam at their own pace and preference of order. Within the space, actors perform in the loop. The idea is that the audience members will cobble the pieces together to make it a whole story.

Niantic and Punchdrunk are Teaming Up to Develop Brand-New AR Experience
Niantic and Punchdrunk are Teaming Up to Develop Brand-New AR Experience

Keep On Playing

Felix Barrett, the founder and artistic director of Punchdrunk said that the performance, although seems spontaneous, is meticulously and rigorously choreographed. According to him, it is one of those experiences that compel the viewers to think about how they are acquiring the experience and how they could use that information to put together a whole experience with them. He compares the process to that of binary coding.

It is not hard to imagine how this vision might extend to augmented reality. Barrett stated that it is his years-long fascination with the game mechanism that has led him to conceive an innovative project with AR technology. In this immersive experience, he wants the audience members to take charge of the environment they traverse, like those immersive games, and have a real sense of agency over the information they acquire. Barrett says that the experience will make them feel like they are the heroes in their own movies.

Joinig Forces

Partnering with Niantic is expected to give them a leg up in realizing this seemingly impossible task. With their rich augmented reality infrastructure built on years of digital layer mapping, they made AR wonders like Wizards Unite and Pokémon Go possible. Now, Punchdrunk is likely to leverage this very infrastructure to actualize its vision of a novel immersive experience.

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