What is immersive entertainment? Does anyone really have a definition? A good definition? You can argue that the next shiny new thing in “immersive entertainment” is some kind of video game, or a new form of theatre, or the next great theme park. It really doesn’t matter what the claim is, because all good entertainment is immersive entertainment. Even a piece of theatre that wants to alienate the audience, make them remember that they are in a theatre watching a show, is still immersing them in a world.
If asked “what’s next for immersive entertainment” I’d say stories audiences can navigate themselves. Why? First of all because it’s incredibly vague and I can go a million places with it, but also because any kind of self-guided narrative is automatically immersive because it gives the audience a role in the story, whether that role is acknowledged or not. We each live in a self-guided narrative and our lives are the purest form of immersive entertainment. Examples of what I’m talking about are endless. Choose your own adventure stories, museums and immersive theatre with stories for audiences to explore, fictional worlds which exist on many platforms that allow fans to chose the way they interact with them, Zoom plays in which audiences can choose to look on their phones to interact with characters posting on social media during certain scenes.
The question isn’t “what’s next for immersive entertainment” it’s “what’s next for entertainment” and I’m so excited to find out.