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This article originally appeared in The Innovation Issue of APEX Experience.

APEX Insight: Prepare for the new wave of in-flight entertainment, designed to transport passengers from airplane cabin to an alternate world where immersive entertainment blurs the lines between movie and game or fiction and reality. Several APEX members are at the forefront of the trend: Learn how Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) and Disney are teaming up to create branded games that will coincide with GEE’s in-flight movie runs.

Feeding the desire many television viewers have for just one more plot twist at the end of a gripping episode or season finale is a new medium that could turn fans from bystanders of their favorite TV shows into supporting actors and co-writers.


By 2020, AR and VR will generate $150 billion in revenue.

The ground-breaking concept, being referred to in Hollywood as “super shows,” will be one part TV show, another part video game – tossed together with sprinkles of choose-your-own-adventure and a ready-made scripted scenarios to steer the storyline. With binge-watching entertainment pros Lionsgate (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Orange Is the New Black) and Telltale Games (video game adaptations of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead) at the helm of this trend, it would seem the super show format has been calculated to take off beyond the bedrooms of reclusive gamers.

But how does blended entertainment affect airlines? Alexis Steinman, senior vice-president, Digital Media Solutions at Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE), says the company is working with Disney to design branded games for The Incredibles and Big Hero 6 in order to coincide with GEE’s in-flight movie runs. Passengers will be able to watch Big Hero 6 and embody the characters of Baymax and Hiro Hamada, all while romping around in the fictitious city of San Fransokyo, adding a dimension of interactivity to the movie experience.

Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

And in some cases, the familiarity of TV show or movie characters inside a game, especially through virtual reality (VR), will take an anxious flyer mentally out of the airplane. “This is definitely going to be a huge trend in virtual reality to merge movie, TV and game content,” says Christoph Fleischmann, co-founder of the start-up, Inflight VR, which has received inquiries from Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Virgin Australia, Lufthansa and Oman Air. “Obviously, [the] main difference is the immersion, that you’re not going to be staring at the screen, but be actually inside the game or the 3-D environment,” says Nikolas Jaegar, CEO, Inflight VR.

Caroline is managing editor at APEX Media.