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In 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope hit the theaters and took the world by storm. It was full of daring escapes, lightsaber duels, and crazy space battles. However, it was one somewhat innocuous moment in the movie that filled a young Jeri Ellsworth with enthusiasm for the future of gaming.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to bring holograms to the table, just like you saw in the Millenium Falcon,” says Jeri Ellsworth, Found and CEO of Tilt Five. “It’s been about 10 years in the making to get Tilt Five to where we’re actually delivering on that.”

Tilt Five is a new augmented reality product that allows for people to join a game from anywhere in the world and interact with it and the game space locally. The actual physical setup is 3 components that work together to create a holographic experience. You need a board, headset, and controller which can be pre-ordered on the company’s site.

Tilt Five's AR googles, gameboard, and wand.
Tilt Five’s AR googles, gameboard, and wand.

Baby steps into the future

One big challenge for the current generation of AR/VR developers and audience is the realization that nothing moves as quickly as it seems in the world of technology. While the consumer wants science-fiction levels of interaction, the actual hardware might have a while to go.

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“Everyone thinks there’s going to be a silver bullet out there,” comments Ellsworth. “Oh, Apple is going to release the ultimate AR headset and you can walk around all day, fully immersive and perfect in every way. Technology doesn’t work that way. For us, delivering this in-home experience that delights people is a very reasonable bar for us to go after.”

Working on prototype technology for a decade has helped Tilt Five filter what works and what doesn’t.

“Everyone makes fun of this like ‘that looks like a barbecue lighter,’ but that wasn’t a mistake at all,” says Ellsworth of the controller design. “We went through hundreds and hundreds of iterations for what the perfect user experience should be. It landed on this. It kept coming back to this. We did not want the barbecue lighter shape. I can give this to my dad who you’d be lucky if you could get him to use an iPad properly, but he can use our system because it’s such a simple interaction.”

Bridging the generational gap

Augmented and virtual reality are very big in the tech business, especially when viewed through the lens of the Metaverse. However, before it can be a major platform seller, one big hurtle that it must face is appealing to those who are less than technically savvy.

“Sandbox experiences are amazing,” says Ellsworth. “You can stick grandma and grandpa into a Tilt Brush experience where the grandkids are sitting across the table drawing. Now you have this experience that bridges generations. There’s no gameplay loop, just free-form play. It’s so accessible that folks who aren’t technical can get in there and have fun with each other. Impossible on flat screens and almost impossible in VR.”

With the combination of straight forward, easy to use devices like the Tilt controller, Tilt Five is hoping to bring a new look and new dimensions to traditional gaming.

“Just having people sit around the table playing a multiplayer experience,” says Ellsworth. “The dynamics that are present with people forming alliances or competing against each other. It adds another layer. It’s hard to describe, but its really lacking in gaming.”

Well, at least this way no one will spill a drink on your expensive game pieces. To learn more about this talk, or the many others going on right now, check out the GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2!

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