Usually paper beats rock. With augmented reality, The Rock beats paper.
Using the Life VR app for iOS or Android, Entertainment Weekly readers can point their smartphones at the cover of the Dec. 8 edition to view a holiday greeting from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, star of the forthcoming reboot, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
You don't actually need to have the physical magazine to smell what the Rock is cooking. You can use the Life VR app to scan an image of the cover, and the experience unfolds just the same.
In this case, the use of augmented reality is poetic, too. This version of Jumanji finds real-life people getting sucked into a video game. Thanks to augmented reality, that concept can plays out in reverse, with digital content coming to life on a magazine cover.
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From books to periodicals, the publishing industry is looking to augmented reality as a way to get readers to opt for the bounded pages over e-books. AR literally adds another dimension to print, giving pages a level of interactivity once reserved for the web version of articles.
With the AR mode in the Life VR app, Time, Inc. has been able to spread AR content across its various titles. For example, Sports Illustrated utilized the app to embed a video into the cover of its college football preview issue.
Their competitors are getting into the act as well. GQ partnered with DC Comics to augment a recent cover featuring Batman. On the newspaper side, the Washington Post and New York Times are using augmented reality to make their stories more interactive.