Kinect in Space

Studio City Macau—a member of MELCO—is set apart from its competition by positioning itself as Macau’s casino for fun and entertainment. While other casinos in the region focus on retail and shopping experiences, Studio City rotates through different cinematic and entertainment themes. Each lasts a few months and features relevant activations throughout the casino.

Oglivy approached Shadow Factory to help Studio City create an interactive experience for a very large and underutilized digital screen inside the casino during its “Aliens Are Coming” theme. Shadow Factory was tasked with creating an activation that was suitable for all ages, did not require staff, controllers, or internet access to operate, and had to be able to run for three months uninterrupted. The experience also had to reflect the branding and campaign around “Aliens Are Coming” and intermittently switch to advertising.

Planning & Execution

Based on the requirements and a timeline of just over a month, Shadow Factory realized the best solution to create this interactive experience was to use Kinect—a motion sensing input device produced by Microsoft.

Shadow Factory spent the first week of the project in a R&D phase with the Kinect device to better understand how to utilize it for an experience that had to run for three months uninterrupted while being able to track two players out of a large amount of foot traffic, which were two of the major challenges of the project.

Studio City’s digital screen was 40 meters away from the server room where the input controls for the screen were located. Given this setup and distance, a duel-computer setup was required. A high performance gaming PC was to be located in the server room while a smaller PC closer to the screen would send the basic Kinect motion information to the high performance PC, thus avoiding any lags in the user experience. Multiple rounds of on-site testing were completed before the campaign started.

Meanwhile, Shadow Factory had multiple team members working on the experience itself, including environment creation, character modelling, and game mechanics. The team worked closely with Oglivy, which had a lot of the assets, set design, and UI that needed to be integrated into the experience. The experience is a motion-detected two-player game where players move their bodies to control flying spacecraft and move their arms to control the spacecraft’s suction arms. They fly around a small planet and compete against each other in collecting as many cute miniature aliens as the can. The brand payoff happens at the end of the game when both players’ spacecrafts arrive at Studio City Macau. Players are ranked based on their scores in relation to all other players.

Effectiveness / Results

The Studio City Kinect in Space experience ran virtually uninterrupted for three months. It had 66,000 players during this time period.

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