PHYGITAL ENTERTAINMENT
is for the whole family

PHYGITAL ENTERTAINMENT
is for the whole family

Some say that entertainment is becoming increasingly difficult. With our lives being very “digitized”, it almost seems like we need to invent new ways to impress people.

The challenge is even more complicated for sectors such as tourism, where entertainment is a key service offered to the consumer: the cultural gap between generations keeps widening, and often traditional entertainment focuses on dividing people into age groups, ignoring the families’ need (which constitute an important segment of the clientele) to spend time together.

Some say that entertainment is becoming increasingly difficult. With our lives being very “digitized”, it almost seems like we need to invent new ways to impress people.

The challenge is even more complicated for sectors such as tourism, where entertainment is a key service offered to the consumer: the cultural gap between generations keeps widening, and often traditional entertainment focuses on dividing people into age groups, ignoring the families’ need (which constitute an important segment of the clientele) to spend time together.

What does the phygital dimension have to do with all this?

The idea of combining, smartly and critically, the physical experience with the digital aspect is unfortunately nothing new: everything around us is phygital, from QR codes to apps that use augmented reality. As far as entertainment is concerned, however, its potential is very specific and still hasn’t been sufficiently exploited.

Let’s look at two examples of entertainment businesses that successfully combine physical and digital and the opportunities they offer.

Operating since 2019 on some ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, but also available for other sectors, Fire & Ice is a children’s entertainment format that uses a fantasy-flavored story as a backdrop to expand the possibilities of a classic team game thanks to digital intervention.

Children are divided into two teams, belonging to two schools of magic: the Ice Academy and the Fire Academy. The props available – flags, bibs, and stickers – give the children a sense of belonging to their team and help them stand out during the game. Each team’s goal is to win as many challenges as possible and accumulate points.

The digital is the main thread and support for the various challenges, but the children are not restricted to the closed world of the computer, quite the contrary! The video games on the screen materialize into live props requiring the use of physical and mnemonic skills or team cooperation. Keeping a digital flashlight lit in a real hand-to-hand fight, answering a quiz by running to press a button, collecting physical scrolls to use in the final challenge… in short, while the physical is the basis of fun, the digital… adds the magic!

The entertainers of the structure, in this case the cruise ship, play the central role of moderators and presenters of the game: donning the cape of Masters of the two schools, they guide the children through the various challenges in the game, containing a precious track to help them follow their activities.

That’s another big advantage of phygital entertainment formats: the entertainers maintain a central role in the human relationship with the children, but they are guided every step of the way and have the tools to provide quality entertainment regardless of their level of experience or ability in the role. In areas where staff are frequently temporary and inexperienced, codifying formats as much as possible allows them to maintain quality.

In Fire & Ice, digital and physical mix in various ways: one of these is physical activity, which in some challenges is the undisputed protagonist of the game.

What if we were to shift the focus on sport, perhaps on the most universally known and popular sport in Europe?

Well, the physical part of phygital entertainment might just be the game of football, or rather that activity that filled our afternoons as children when we dreamed of becoming great champions: dribbling against a wall.

CyberGoal is a technology that allows you to transform an enclosed space (for example, a squash court) into a highly customizable immersive video game.

You interact with the video game by kicking the ball on a wall on which the game is projected, equipped with sensors designed specifically to recognize the impact of the ball on the wall. Power is not very important, what matters is precision: use your knowledge or skills to understand where to hit and then kick, using reflexes, agility, and ball control.

There are endless possibilities for graphics, themes, and storytelling, provided that the protagonist is still the player and the ball.

Another great advantage of phygital entertainment is also evident here: digital can make small spaces big and almost infinite. A squash court or a rectangular room can become a stadium full of fans or an alien planet! Thanks to the virtual worlds projected on the screen, the small space becomes everything it wouldn’t otherwise be on its own.

Another thing phygital dimension can help us with is the creation of formats that are not intended for a specific age group but rather designed to bring the family together, from the oldest to the youngest generations, in a single activity that involves everyone and in which everyone plays their part. This is the case with The Turnaround, our latest format in the making.

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