Case Study: VIVE Mars Brings Hollywood VFX To BLIZZCON 2023

VIVE Mars’ Marketing Manager Tim Wen speaks on the success of bringing Hollywood VFX and Filmmaking to BlizzCon 2023

BlizzCon 2023 took place in Anaheim, CA on Nov. 3rd and Nov. 4th, 2023 where VIVE Mars and AOTO LED were official partners.  With its first in-person event in 3 years, BlizzCon brought in fans from all over the globe to celebrate game announcements, official symposiums, and e-sports competitions. VIVE Mars, along with AOTO LED, showcased our virtual production solution on an XR Stage where attendees interacted with their favorite Overwatch 2 characters. The global superstar K-Pop group Le Sserafim even stopped by the booth for the VIVE Mars experience. Read what Tim Wen, VIVE Mars’ Marketing Manager, has to say about the success of the event:

Q: Could you introduce the collaboration between VIVE MARS and AOTO Electronics, and the role of VIVE MARS at BlizzCon 2023? 

At the beginning of the year, HTC VIVE was invited to be part of BlizzCon 2023 to provide an immersive experience for BlizzCon’s attendees. It was an important year because this marked their return to an in-person event after two years of being virtual. So, the Blizzard team was looking for something extra special and cutting edge. HTC VIVE Mars presented a virtual production solution that would introduce the latest Hollywood filmmaking technique and In-camera VFX to BlizzCon's fans. Using the VIVE Mars CamTrack to track the camera position, the Overwatch 2 world was displayed on the LED Wall, allowing users to engage and interact with their favorite Overwatch 2 characters.   

The Overwatch team at Blizzard loved the idea and implemented an activation called 'Overwatch 2 Hero Gallery.' They selected their favorite characters and interactions, including flexing with Reinhardt, dancing with the angelic Mercy, and finishing with a superhero pose featuring their new character, Kiriko. The highlight was that at the end of the session, the participant could download a 1-minute video of their experience to share on social media. 

AOTO Electronics supported this endeavor by building and operating a high-quality, 3-meter-high wall and floor to create the experience. Because of our effort, VIVE Mars and AOTO also became official partners of BlizzCon 2023.

Using MSI Gaming Laptop with 4090 graphic card with Aximmetry Technologies Virtual Studio.

Q: Could you share the process behind designing this experience? Is the VIVE MARS demo designed to transport participants into the world of Overwatch 2 and interact with its characters?  

We began conceptualizing this idea during our HTC VIVE booth at MWC, and brainstormed a turnkey small XR space equipped with camera tracking optimized for expos. Typically, expos don't feature camera tracking, so we aimed to push the boundaries and determine its feasibility. We thought, 'what better way to demonstrate it than with one of the biggest gaming companies?' 

Virtual production hinges on presence and real-time interaction. That's why VIVE Mars, a camera tracking solution, is ideal for immersing participants in the Overwatch 2 world and allowing them to engage with characters. Similar to VR, those standing on the stage experience the characters and their surroundings with proper scale. Many fans were astonished to see the true height of Reinhardt, standing at an impressive 7.4 feet, as he roared and flexed. 

Q: Many cosplayers were seen experiencing it on-site. Could you share any feedback and insights from those who experienced it?

This is my first time at BlizzCon, and it was exciting to see attendees rush in with their jaws dropping as they witnessed the fantastic world-building that the Blizzard team had created. 

It was also an especially exciting experience to witness Overwatch 2 fans engage with our activations. A major highlight for me was when cosplayers came to the booth dressed as Overwatch 2 characters. Once they stepped onto the stage, they were immediately posing and dancing in character. Some attendees even returned for a second round because they enjoyed the experience so much.  On the first day, I didn't even realize it, but I was operating the camera for 4 hours straight because interacting with the attendees was so enjoyable. The line never stopped, and we recorded over 800 videos, which is equal to around 13 hours of recording!

Q: KPOP group LE SSERAFIM, who collaborated with Overwatch 2, made an appearance at the VIVE MARS booth and even performed a short dance to "Perfect Night." Could you share what the atmosphere was like on-site?  

We were thrilled when we heard LE SSERAFIM would be coming by our booth to experience our XR activation. Where they go, their fans follow. After greeting their fans and posing for some pictures, they stepped onto the stage and were just like any other Overwatch 2 fan – flexing with Reinhardt, posing with Mercy, and making heart signs with Kiriko. They were impressed by our LED wall and fully immersed in the Overwatch 2 environment. They even performed a TikTok dance to 'Perfect Night' while on our set and in the Overwatch 2 world. 

Q: What's next for VIVE Mars CamTrack? Will we see more applications at gaming events? 

The VIVE Mars team is consistently coming up with innovative ways to implement our camera tracking into event activations, providing a fresh way for exhibitors to connect with their audience. This was our first activation at a gaming event, and it was exciting to create such a unique experience where fans could engage with the Overwatch 2 world and their favorite characters. However, this type of activation isn’t limited to gaming. The immersive nature of camera tracking can be a useful tool for a variety of industries, and the VIVE Mars team is continuing to explore the possibilities in film, broadcast, and event activations.   

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