Beginning in 2016, Norway’s Future Group plans to launch The Future Universe, an immersive, live virtual reality game show, the first of its kind. Recently released details explain that contestants on the show will compete in a VR arena, and players at home will use their personal devices (tablets, phones, gaming consoles) to compete against the contestants and their friends and family to win prizes. Eager to learn about how difficult hosting a virtual reality game show might be, The Creators Project reached out to two seasoned game show hosts, Richard Karn, the host of Family Feud from 2002 to 2006 (and also Al from Home Improvement), and David Ruprecht, host of Supermarket Sweep for 14 years.
So what's it like to work on a game show? Says Karn, “You’re up there as the host of a party. It’s just you, there’s no script really, except for the game. The rules of the game, the playing of the game, the minutiae of the game. With Family Feud, there were a lot of opportunities to enjoy other people’s answers.” David Ruprecht expresses a similar sentiment, “One of my producers early on told me ‘You’re hosting a party at your house… you just happen to have a produce section in your living room.’”
But virtual reality hosting could be a whole new ballgame—a party on a green screen set, as opposed to a physical one. “I guess in some senses it would be different, but in another way, you’re dealing with people," reassures Karn. "No matter what’s behind you, or what you’re leaning on, or where you are, you’re still dealing with people. Put that with a green screen and all the stuff going on behind you could be funny, or dramatic.”
Ruprecht wonders about the presentation of the game show: “The host will have to see what’s going on, so they can comment on it. And the audience has to see it, too. It would be wonderful if they could do it.” Discussing The Future Universe's potential levels of audience interaction, the competitions for prizes at home, and the use of virtual reality, he exclaims, “Wow. That’s ambitious. It’s a lot of moving parts. Usually it’s all very set in the studio. The most moving parts I’ve ever seen is on Jeopardy, where they go off campus to shoot one of their assistants giving an answer.” Simply put, it's a new dimension for a classic pasttime.
While both hosts feel generally excited about the possibility of a VR game show, Karn has some concerns, “We’ve had all of these other physical game shows, like American Ninja Warrior, where they’re running over rolling logs, and things like that," he explains. "I don’t know if there will be enough at stake with virtual reality.”
We asked them both if they’d strap on virtual reality goggles and host a game show in cyberspace. Richard says he’d give it a try, but “I’d have to rehearse it a lot to see if you could make it really interesting for an audience to watch.” For David, it’s a no-brainer, “Of course!” he exclaims, “it sounds like a hoot.”
Click here to learn more about The Future Universe.
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