Pokémon Go might have inspired a new form of content creation but 5G capabilities will be the real 'game changer' for content creators, according to panelists at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week.
The potential that the next generation of mobile connectivity holds was on the minds of the top creatives from film, gaming and TV who had gathered at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas to discuss upcoming technologies for content creators in the industry.
For John Honeycutt, chief technology officer at Discovery Communications, this was the first CES where he witnessed the full "processing capabilities" of 5G networks.
“When I think about moving content, those kinds of speeds are pretty incredible,” said Honeycutt.
It had been a hot topic throughout the conference, and emerged as the key way of weaving together all the other technologies that are getting people excited. From internet of things devices through to connected cars and virtual reality – what the success of these innovations will depend on in the mobile era is scale and speed.
“In the future, there will be screens everywhere and I think it will affect all of the businesses that are sitting on stage,” said JC Cangilla, chief operating officer at digital studio New Form.
“As a content creators what we need to invest in now is how to leverage those screens and how audiences look at those screens."
But there was plenty of excitement around augmented reality (AR) too and with the chief technology officer at Pokémon GO’s Niantic Labs on the panel it was not long before the hugely popular phenomena was mentioned.
The overnight success of the location-based game, which notifies players about the appearance of Pokémon’s nearby, took everyone by surprise last year and set put a marker in the sand for how AR could engage people. It was applauded for getting people away from their screens at home to being out and about in the physical world and interacting with other people.
But step outdoors now and it is rare to see someone speaking about the game anymore. So what happened? Has the novelty worn off?
“Yes, things have cooled down thank God!” admitted Phil Keslin from Pokémon GO’s Niantic Labs.
“But it’s still pretty big, there's still a lot of people in the world playing Pokémon Go. As of today, people in the world have walked over eight billion kilometres since the launch of [the game]. Our goal is to continue to evolve the player experience and to figure out how to get people into the real world playing games with one another."
And while Pokémon Go’s flame may have simmered down a bit, it is clear from the other panelists that its influence in the content creation community has been felt.
“Interactivity and proximity are the two things we are going for with the future of our content,” said Molly DeWolf Swenson, chief marketing officer at RYOT, AOL.
“We are going to start seeing our content and devices interacting back with us. As content creators, we need to start thinking about how to branch narratives if you are not a video game creator but a film-maker.”
On the back of Pokémon Go’s success, Keslin said he is now experimenting with different ways in using audio to get people out of their phones.
“It’s looking at what other sensors can be involved in the game-playing experience,” he said.
While the future heralds all sorts of exciting possibilities for content, Honeycutt summed up the feeling of the panel when he said that he wants his devices to be more anticipatory rather than simply reactive.
"Why does my wife have to ask Amazon Echo to turn on the radio? Why doesn't the device understand it's her coming into the room and ask her if she would like to do that as a suggestion? We as humans are having to ask the technology to do something. The tech is not at a point yet where it is being participatory with us."