Harry Potter VR Experience

by Anastasia Deripaska

VR Experience BIg Ticket Item at New York Harry Potter Store

When it comes to fantastical worlds that millions of people would love to immerse themselves in and not come up for air for a week or two, the version of England inhabited by Harry Potter has to be at or near the top.Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Diagon Alley, The Burrow, Hogsmeade’s Village, and The Cupboard Under the Stairs. They’re all places that any fan of the multi-billion dollar movie and book franchise can populate with their imaginations without blinking an eye. But being able to surround yourself in those amazing environments? That’s an experience worth all the gold in Gringotts Wizard Bank.

Magical Proof of Concept

On July 14, 2021, AT&T announced a partnership with Wevr, Nvidia, Dreamscape, Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Warner Brothers to show off the power of its 5G technology to enhance user-generated experiences. The result is a pair of adventures that can currently be undertaken at the first-of-its-kind Harry Potter store in New York City. The partnership allows the experience to push beyond the limitations of LTE and WiFi - notably that the former does not support the amount of bandwidth needed for a seamless VR experience and the latter gets congested and has too much overhead to be consistently reliable. 

Seeing Double with Dobby

The results of the innovative partnership are a pair of VR experiences that fans from all over the world are queuing up to experience first hand. The first, entitled “Chaos at Hogwarts”, recreates events from the second movie and book, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in which Harry and best friend Ron Weasley miss the train to school at the beginning of term and have to take a flying car to get there instead. In the VR experience, when they arrive they must help clumsy house elf Dobby round up a collection of escaped magical creatures. The second VR experience, “Wizards Take Flight” emulates action sequences from the fifth and seventh movies and films in which young Harry is accompanied by several friends in the wizarding community, notably school gameskeeper and half-giant Hagrid on a broomstick ride throughout the wizarding world and throughout the skies of London while under attack by the franchise’s villainous Death Eaters. In both experiences, users are allowed to select an avatar that represents their favorite school house from the franchise, cast spells using hand motions, and explore such memorable locations as Platform 9-¾ and the Grand Staircase at Hogwarts. Both VR encounters happen in groups of five where you are able to see the rest of your “party”. Thanks to wind machines, sound effects, and other haptics, users will get totally immersive experiences that also feature headsets, backpacks, hand and foot trackers, and physical wizarding wands for when you’re ready to summon your Patronus or disarm a pesky Death Eater.

Final Thoughts

The so-called Potter-verse is a perfect venue for getting people excited about the awesome entertainment power of VR: A place that is largely grounded in our own reality, but with enough dazzling magic and amount of detail to make you believe that you’re seeing something real and tremendously special.