Remember that scene in Star Wars when Luke walks into the interplanetary boozecan and sees a couple of Martians playing a game of chess with holographic pawns, knights and rooks? Well, a new product unveiled at the 2009 edition of Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, Texas by Bannockburn, Illinois-based Virtual Experience is attempting to make that science fiction a retail fact.
The 3DHP (3 Dimensional Holographic Player) had tongues wagging at the show following Virtual Experience’s demonstration of the 2.5- to 3-inch-tall holographic figures that dance and shimmy with ease on the device’s self-contained stage. After almost two years of development, the player is being shopped to mass and specialty retailers, as well as prospective content-licensing partners.
‘It’s unique,’ says Jonathan F. Glick, managing member of Virtual Experience, a subsidiary of the Glick Group. ‘We are looking to make this a long-term platform, not just an in-and-out thing. I think retailers understand that.’
The player has an SRP of US$99 and is expected to ship to the US market in February. Introductory content is embedded in the player itself, featuring tween-friendly TRUE – the first wholly holographic girl group that performs a three-song set and dances to the beat of any music plugged into the player.
Additional content will be available on 3DHVs (Three Dimensional Holographic Videos) in a variety of categories, including instructional, live acts (concerts), preschool and licensed entertainment.
In fact, Virtual Experience has already signed a deal with Marvel to license its Marvel Classic Heroes and is currently exploring ways of utilizing the iconic IP for the new platform. SRPs for individual 3DHVs should range from US$14.99 to US$19.99.
‘We are talking to all major licensors and music companies right now,’ says Glick. ‘You can’t repurpose content for the device. You have to create specifically for it, and that takes time.’
Licensors interested in the platform should know Virtual Experience foots the bill to develop the content through a process that usually takes between one and three months.
Glick is also looking ahead at creating larger versions of the device. ‘The option is there to make the images bigger,’ he says. ‘That would change the price-point, but with the technology it’s a possibility and something we are exploring.’
However, embarking on the marketing of an entirely new platform has its pitfalls. While a North American TV-based advertising campaign is in the works for fall 2010, Glick knows he will still have to fight for shelf space in an increasingly conservative retail market.
‘When you go to retailers…they’re asking ‘Where does it fit in a retail store? Is it a girls item? Is it a boys item? Should we put it in the electronics section?” he says. ‘But I think everyone can find their way around it because it’s a great price-point and I always go back to the ‘wow’ factor.’ GR