Reinvigorating Local High Streets
Having been selected to partner with Niantic on the ‘Revitalising the High Street’ challenge, we spent the proceeding few months furiously innovating, putting the new Lightship ARDK to work in the creation of a new type of experience designed to give shoppers a new reason to return to local bricks-and-mortar retail environments.
The result was a prototype that we were very proud to show off to the assembled audience. The film below was played on stage, in which Arcade Co-Founders Jon Meggitt and Alex Book introduced the Bazaar concept and explained its potential impact.
In Bazaar’s imagined storyworld, there is more to High Streets than meets the eye; they are special, important places, connected by an ancient magical network. But the magic has started to seep out into the world, and it is up to us to find and return the ‘drops’ to the shops that need their power. Find enough, and reunite them with the shops they came from, and the owners will show their gratitude in the form of free goods, discounts and other rewards.
The goal is to provide the technology to empower creators around the world to develop innovative new AR and location-based experiences, building a real-world metaverse for a growing global audience.
Positive Early Signs
As part of the demonstrator we ran a test week, in which we set up controlled Bazaar testbeds across three high streets, including the recruitment of ten testers and three real world ‘drop shops’ in each location, tasked with putting Bazaar through its paces.
Livvy also took the audiences through the headlines from our research. The feedback was very encouraging, with hundreds of drops collected including the limited edition ‘timed’ drops that had testers racing to get there first. Interest in the full version, should it be developed and launched, was universal. But the most important metric was undoubtedly the impact it could have on people’s propensity to increase engagement with their local high streets, with 91% of testers reporting that they would be more likely to visit as a result of Bazaar.
You can read more about Bazaar in Digital Catapult’s comprehensive post here.
A Fabulous Experience
But whatever the future holds for Bazaar, our involvement in the Niantic Futurescope programme was one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences we have had to date.
The chance to partner with Niantic, the shining light at the forefront of the ‘real world metaverse’ (to use the phrase they coined), was everything we hoped it would be and we cannot thank them enough for their support, encouragement and enthusiasm at every step of the journey.
One of our biggest learnings is that Niantic, through the Lightship platform, is set to drive the mass scale integration of AR into our everyday lives. We at Arcade are committed to being a part of that journey, and we cannot wait to where it takes us.
Sometimes the novelty can be enough as a justification for doing an AR project, so long as you know that that is the reason you are doing it – it’s like ‘we’re delivering this to show that we are at the cutting edge of digital experiences’. But generally, it’s not enough, and we’re almost always pushing for experiences to be more than that. It’s about making sure the AR is in service of the experience rather than the other way around.