Sliming virtual friends at Vidcon.
Going on its eighth year, VidCon brings tens of thousands of screaming fans together with their favorite video content creators. With brands like Facebook, YouTube, and Taco Bell going all out to be relevant with this next generation of media consumers, it was no surprise to see VR also front and center.
With all the VR experiences we regularly come across at conferences, there’s always a good chance immersive technology is just being used as a marketing gimmick. But in the case of Nickelodeon, creating a relevant social experience that screamed the Nickelodeon brand, all while staying fun, is what matter for this kids focused media company.
Debuting for the first time at Vidcon, Nickelodeon invited attendees to jump into one of six networked Oculus Rift headsets and enter the world of SlimeZone in VR. Whether experiencing with a group of friends or playing solo with strangers, SlimeZone VR drops you into an animated Nickelodeon world where you can play games, watch cartoons, create art, and even slime others.
No matter your age, there was something delightfully amusing about the whole experience. You navigate by teleporting around to each room, constantly bumping into familiar Nickelodeon avatars powered by the other users playing next to you. With many of the users being children, the expected slime gun to the face and banana throwing with evil laughter was not surprising.
Within this SlimeZone VR open world, there was a different activity for you to experience. A shooting gallery had you blasting cartoonish paper targets, a movie theater let you load up exclusive cartoons, and a full basketball court had you grab oversized basketballs and fire them into a hoop. There was even an art room that let you pick up virtual markers to paint in air. It was like a more kid-friendly version of Tilt Brush.
There was even a chance for parents to participate from the sidelines on a classic upright arcade machine converted into an in-game spectator camera. Switching from room to room, you could watch all six players and mash a button to fire objects at players in game.
The entire experience felt close to being at recess in elementary school—no rules and anything goes chaos. And that’s the point, because the best part of SlimeZone is not that you can shoot slime. But it’s that you can shoot green goo on your friend’s face and all laugh about it together.
SlimeZone VR was developed by Nickelodeon’s internal Entertainment Lab that is spearheading long-range research and development efforts around new technologies for Nick and its audience. Some of the areas Nickelodeon is currently working on include real-time rendering, virtual cinema, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality and artificial intelligence. Speaking with Chris Young who leads the Nickelodeon Entertainment Lab, there are currently no plans on where SlimeZone VR will be demoed next, but this is only the beginning of what Nickelodeon has planned for fans in VR.