Insights / Digital Entertainment
”I see a lot of possibilities in a mashed, XR experienced day-to-day life altering our daily rhythm and habits”
On how technology will make entertainment better
3 Jan 2022

How can and will we use digital technology to entertain ourselves? According to entrepreneur Maja Maletkovic, it’s a big question, but looking into and examining trends that drive industries such as gaming, media, and entertainment and treating movements in these fields may serve as guidelines.

— The one thing that is for certain, she says, is that we see massive growth in all things linked to new ways of storytelling and companies dealing with varied VR, AR, and Immersive technologies. There is, however, quite a gap between the tech side of this story and the content side of it. What seems to be hot at the moment is making bridges or access points between a digital space or environment and the physical realm. Also, we see quite some motion behind the dialogue and markets that blockchain opened to varied creators. There is a huge opportunity to use what is happening to create a new art-, culture-, urban- and media landscape. The buzzword metaverse pops up quite a bit. However, not a lot is known at the moment about what the format is and what tech will drive their business model. So for now we can only assume where the narrative will head. It is regardless quite safe to say that quite some implementable tools will be delivered to the wider entertainment industry through what will be served as their next steps.

Four years ago, after working in varied formats of live performances, such as circus, theater, and opera, she decided to shift her professional focus and develop a new version of a cultural institution. This spring, she opens Immersive Reality Studios, the first cultural center in northern Europe focused on the distribution, production, and popularization of Immersive and high-tech art. 

— The idea is to accommodate the culture and media landscape of the now, she tells. There is so much reality-bending tech and I want to create ways in which this technology could be used to enhance already existing live performance, as well as to create scalable immersive experiences. 

How can tech and innovation be used to create better entertainment and a better industry?

— There is a need for a bridge to be built or a systematization to happen. We currently see technology being in one separate bubble, creators in another, and then the audience in the third one, and the content of each of these worlds is having a hard time reaching the other. What we need to look for, and currently are doing, is finding ways to bridge what technology can do, how storytellers and artists can use this technology to make an emotional and narrative impact, and finally make the work accessible to a broader audience. These gaps are what I believe that my coming space is closing, offering sizeable audiences outstanding technology, with a very strong footing based on meaning and artistic value. The ”what” and ”why” serves as the groundwork for the tech to come in with the ”how” and sweep you away, says Maletkovic. She adds:

— Looking even further, I see a lot of possible chances happening in a mashed, XR experienced day-to-day life altering our daily rhythm and habits. In a world where things can be digitally altered to an extent, the intricate value of presence in an actual geographical space will be something fun to play around with.

People might be used to putting their 3D glasses on when going to the cinema, while immersive virtual reality as entertainment is rather new. What’s so special about it, and how will it evolve further onwards?

— Immersive VR is just one of several nods immersive content is. Immersive art and worlds exist and can be made even without the use of specific gear. The thrill of immersive art and immersive worlds lies in the fact that your sensory reality is, to an extent, substituted with a new one. Depending on the tech used or not used, you have varying degrees of freedom to move in and interact with a totally open space and universe presented to you. The most beautiful thing about this is that you create new worlds, with their respective rules, that the audience gets to explore. By exploring these new worlds, they get to explore parts of themselves. 

— There are many ways in which immersive content will become more and more integrated into our reality, and I am certain that some of the AR technologies developed now will become widely adopted in the next 15 years. This will for sure invite varied creators to play around with possible storytelling and reality-bending modalities. 

— One thing is for certain — a new dawn of media and entertainment is coming, Maletkovic states. It will link tech, social experiences, and bend sensory perception. It will influence art and how we approach creation. Many things can be imagined, and I am very excited about what can be done. What is the future of a night out? What is a story being told gonna look like? Will media even continue to exist in the way we know it or will our general narrative structural presence be curated in an, even more, subsumed way? How will the audiences get even more engaged?

Do you believe that immersive shows will take over conventional feature films? Or will we have both, seeing the two worlds merge?

— I do believe this, to an extent. I see that there is a major need to create scalable, approachable, and valuable immersive content. However, there is beauty and value in the 2D film, and this I believe will always be so. So, in a way, I see these two formats co-existing, with the immersive content sphere broadening and further evolving in the future. I see a big chance on the horizon — and it arose with open access that came with mass social media apps. More and more people develop unique, engaging personalized content. Call me an idealist, but I am certain that mainstream creation will be adapted to this versatility, and a more de-centralized canvas of humanity will serve as a backdrop, Maletkovic concludes.

Immersive Reality Studios opens at Götgatan 73 in Stockholm in March