Is this the first of Amazon’s virtual/augmented reality announcements?

Is this the first of Amazon’s virtual/augmented reality announcements?

The first prediction I made in

The Year Ahead: 2017

and the one to which I devoted the most space, was Amazon getting into the Virtual/Augmented Reality (what I call VAM: Virtual/Augmented/Mixed-Merged reality), in particular with content.

Well, this

press release

while not stating it explicitly, certainly gives us some strong hints about the future of “Vamazon” (so to speak…VAM Amazon).

The lead is that this is a collaboration between Amazon and Robert Kirkman/Skybound (creator of The Walking Dead). That makes sense: The Walking Dead is a cultural phenomenon and very popular in the key age demographic.

If Kirkman was “just” making a TV series for

Amazon Video (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shoppping*)

that would justify a press release. However…

The press release mentions Skybound’s Virtual Reality series (Gone and Lies Within).

More telling is Amazon’s Sharon Tal Yguado (Head of Event Series) description of what’s to come: “…we plan to explore immersive worlds”. That’s exactly what VR is: an “immersive world”.

Kirkman says they want to “… tell the best stories in the most unique and creative ways in an effort to always break new ground.” Also mentioned is Amazon’s vast resources…you don’t especially need vast resources if you are only making a video series.

I think they may do more than one thing, but I think this would be a real possibility: a phone-based Augmented Reality game, like Pokemon Go…but with zombies.

It might not exactly be a game as you might think of it now. Social Pokemon Go groups are a big thing…it could be some sort of social adventure with zombies in the real world that told a genuine narrative story. There could be a competition, or some sort of prize involved.

I would also expect at least one straight up VR series.

The phone-based game wouldn’t require Amazon to have its own hardware. It’s interesting to me that they seem to really be tying this into Prime Video. I think of VAM as something different than video, but Prime Video is a strong brand…stronger than the Amazon Appstore, for sure.

Could Amazon develop the killer…er, undead app that gets average people to invest their entertainment time in VAM? Could be…and I think this is just the beginning.

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*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

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