The true crime genre has long been popular on television and more recently on podcasts with shows like Serial.
Now, one developer is further banking on the fascination with true crime by bringing the experience to augmented reality via the CrimeDoor app.
The app, which was launched as an iOS-only app this month (Android version coming later) literally gives you an AR door into historic crime scenes as detailed by major reports throughout history. Although the app is free, you'll need to access in-app purchases to experience the full menu of crime scenes.
But hold on before you rush to download the app. It's worth mentioning that this app is not for the faint of heart and, based on the sample content, it may even disturb some users. For example, the first AR experience, which is offered for free, recreates the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murder in Los Angeles in 1994.
Unlike more advanced AR apps, like Oxygen's Forensic Detective (designed for the iPad), CrimeDoor doesn't really use your environment immersively but instead gives you an entry port into a VR-like setting which you navigate using a virtual joystick. Other crime scenes include historic cases involving John Lennon, JonBénet Ramsey, and others.
When you launch the app and initialize the experience, the 3D rendering at first makes the jarring scene (yes, there's a lot of blood) seem real, that is, until you get closer and see that the slain figures are renders instead of actual captures of the real people involved. Nevertheless, the scene is disturbing and is certainly not for all users. To that end, before launching, the app warns users with a message: "WARNING! Sensitive Material. Enter At Your Own Risk."
That's not a hype-laced marketing message, the free featured crime scene, while a re-creation, may even offend some users. Still, if true crime is your passion, then this immersive approach to the genre is a new way to investigate some of the most famous crimes in history — if you have the stomach for it.