Sanrio Entertainment has partnered with virtual reality authoring, publishing and analysis company InstaVR in a content production deal that will add VR experiences to Puroland, Sanrio’s official Hello Kitty theme park in Tama, Japan.
With the goal of attracting more international visitors to the park, InstaVR has created a Gear VR-compatible app for Sanrio that lets viewers experience their favorite characters—including Hello Kitty—as they serve as Puroland guides.
A parade featuring Sanrio characters will also be used as a VR engagement in the app.
The app launched this month at Sanrio Expo, and larger VR experiences are in the works for Puroland this spring. They include plans to leverage InstaVR’s point-of-gaze heat map functionality, which lets viewers see areas where app users are looking within the theme park.
Sanrio expects to then analyze VR visitor behavior data to guide future content development, such as adding app interactivity with hot spots and navigation.
The deal will cut Sanrio’s costs and delivery times in half for VR apps built on the InstaVR platform. According to Sanrio, production of mock-ups that usually take two to three weeks were completed in one week, and the actual delivery date was realized in three weeks, from the beginning of filming to app delivery.
The partnership comes as more companies, including California-based Baobab Studios, are investing in kids VR experiences, and follows Sony’s successful consumer launch of PlayStation VR, which sold nearly one million units in its first four months of availability.