Nickelodeon Tests Waters For Kids VR With New Entertainment Lab

by Jamie Feltham • May 2nd, 2017

Nickelodeon’s stable of children’s shows is ripe for experimentation with VR, and that’s exactly what the company is going to be doing with the reveal of its Entertainment Lab.

Chris-Young-Nickelodeon

Chris Young

The lab will be creating new experiences with the help of emerging technologies like VR, AR and MR as well as AI and real-time rendering. Don’t expect to see any fully featured products from the team yet; Entertainment Lab will first create prototypes that test a range of ideas — taking it slow when it comes to the use of VR and kids.

Nickelodeon has actually been experimenting with VR for a couple years but the technology is in a bit of a gray area when it comes to kids. For example, Google says VR should only be used by kids under adult supervision while warnings on other headsets suggest an age restriction of 13 years or older. Generally, parents set their own guidelines for use of the technology by their kids. Nevertheless, Nickelodeon sees enough promise in the new medium to begin exploring games and experiences to be developed in collaboration with other creators.

“We want to take it slow and determine what the long term effects might be,” said Nickelodeon’s Chris Young, who is running lab as Senior Vice President, coming over from the company’s Animation Lab. “We’re on that evolutionary cycle where now it is time to reach out and share some of the things we’re doing and talk about it.”

The lab will be based in Burbank, California.

The company wasn’t ready to announce any projects today, though many people know Nickelodeon from their use of slime, and they’ve developed a social sliming experiment you can see pictured above. We can’t wait to see what ideas emerge from the lab and its partners as VR evolves, and hope to visit the new lab in the future to see some of their ideas first-hand.

Senior Editor Ian Hamilton contributed to this report.

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