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It seems like every day a new gadget comes along that propels us towards a Sci-Fi world previously only imagined in movies like Minority Report and Avatar. Nintendo’s Wii revolutionised video gaming, broadening the “gamer” demographic by tempting young and old off the sofa and onto the balance board. Smart phones and i-pads enable us to organise our lives with the swipe of a finger or even the sound of our voice. 2011 was the year of "gamification", bringing gaming techniques into our everyday lives. Now New York and Seoul based 4D creative company d’strict are banking on consumers demanding the same kind of interactive, personalised technology in theme parks. ‘Live Park’ is d’strict’s 4D entertainment platform that they hope will prove to be a game changer for the theme park experience.
‘Live Park’ bridges performance, exhibitions and gaming with 4D interactive technology, spatial interactive games, mixed reality and hologram performances to provide a user-generated experience. Visitors create their own unique avatar, personalized to reflect facial characteristics, and then move through the multiplayer games, quests, adventures and performances that make up the attraction, making their own adventure. We often ask how theme parks will respond to the challenges of at home entertainment. Could ‘Live Park’ be part of the solution, using gaming and mobile technologies to provide a large scale interactive experience that cannot be replicated at home?
d’strict’s background is in web design. Founded in 2000, the Korean based company has since moved into some high tech R&D including outsized multi touch screens, motion and sound sensing technology and 4D stereoscopic stage productions. Having won numerous innovation awards by applying this technology in marketing campaigns for global brands like Samsung, Tiffany & Co (see below), Hyundai and Fendi (right), the company announced a move into theme parks in 2011 with ‘Live Park’, billed as the world’s first interactive 4D theme park. d'strict CEO Choi Eun-seok says, “’Live Park’ is d’strict’s grand challenge for the world’s entertainment market.”
‘Live Park World Tour Season 1. Noi Live’ opened to the public in Korea in December 2011. The $13 million temporary attraction includes 65 attractions over 7 thematic stages in a 10,000 sq meter space. The public response has been overwhelmingly positive and as a result there are plans to extend this first show beyond the initial March closing date. D’strict are now looking for partners to set up permanent ‘Live Park’ theme parks in the US and Asia.
Blooloop talks to Bryan Lee, Live Park North America General Manager about ‘Live Park’ and plans for the future.
Please tell us how d’strict came up with the concept of 'Live Park'?
'Live Park' is a new hybrid theme park platform for the digital generation; those who want more than 3D movies and a roller coaster experience. Unlike a conventional themed design setting, the visitor needs to smile, scream or shake their body to engage in this attraction.
The age of conventional amusement them park such as Lotte World or Everland and ‘sitting and watching’ a performance or exhibition has gone. In this 21st century where a 2-year-old child plays Xbox kinect game and the silver generation enjoys culture contents with tablet PCs, performances and exhibitions designed to ride a machine for a thrill or to sit passively watching can no longer excite consumers. In Korea, where people always demand new technologies, ‘Live Park’ is expected to be the center of ‘4D fever’ for this new concept entertainment.
The attraction covers 10,000 sq meters and can be described as a cultural space integrated with maximized reality through next generation imaging technologies; an interactive story driven by participants; games fused with art, all connected by a single coherent story. It’s a new concept art theme park for trend setters longing for a new cultural experience as well the future of family entertainment for a new generation.
‘Live Park’ is a virtual world that has previously only been seen in movies; games through the computer monitor or passive experience of culture and art. Last year James Cameron said that he would build Avatar theme park in 4 years with whole new level of attraction design. d’strict have brought that concept into the real world as a new integrated entertainment genre. ‘Live Park’ is here now!
How long has the development taken?
5 years for concept and 3 years for development.
How did you raise the capital and who has provided it?
Capital was raised by several VC in Korea, for global licensing, SPC will be elected in Hong Kong in Q3 2012.
What technical innovations are you particularly pleased with?
I can’t reveal details but our R&D Center have used more than 65 state-of-the-art technologies.
How do you see 'Live Park' developing over the next year or two? China? Theme Parks? Museums? Travelling Exhibits?
d’strict are looking to expand overseas by licensing ‘Live Park’ to potential partners, and already have plans to create permanent facilities for ‘Live Park’ in China and Singapore. In addition, the company has been selected as a preferred bidder for a $1 billion multi-purpose theme park resort due to open in 2015 within the Asian region.
d’strict is under MOU with a Hollywood entertainment powerhouse and their global IP to develop a themed entertainment destination in Las Vegas and L.A. area. An official announcement is expected in March in L.A regarding the US license.
Where do you see the 'Live Park' technology developing further into the future - say the next 10 years?
There are more than 45 new technologies we are undertaking for the new episode of 'Live Park' platform development. Some of new display, holographic technologies and other new media driven contents technology will be constantly invested back into 'Live Park' upgrades.
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