CES Reporter's Notebook: Paramount Brings 'Downsizing' to Life With Augmented Reality

The first official day of CES kicks off with the opening of the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center and a conversation about the role of representation at industry events.
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
'Downsizing'

Paramount’s Downsizing got the augmented reality treatment at CES this week.

To help startup Mira launch its Prism augmented reality device — which, like the Samsung Gear VR, requires a mobile phone to operate — the studio helped Mira create a unique AR experience using assets from the Alexander Payne film, which is based on the premise that people may downsize themselves and their world to save money and control overpopulation.

Paramount futurist Ted Schilowitz explains that users see trailer material in the headset and can select and "downsize" certain items that appear. In following the film's theme, the experience ends by displaying how much money the viewer would have saved with the downsized items.

Said Schilowitz of AR: "I'm encouraged by what we have seen with this, and we continue to explore [AR]." 

The Downsizing AR experience can be viewed at Mira's booth on the show floor at CES, where the company is launching the Prism system and making it available to developers.

As the first official day of the show comes to an end, THR takes a look at the other key takeaways.

WWE Gets VR Treatment

NextVR is taking viewers into the wrestling ring through a new partnership with WWE. Throughout the year, NextVR will create 10-minute highlight videos featuring in-the-moment footage from special WWE events. The content will be available on the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream View, PlayStation VR or Windows Mixed Reality. 

"WWE is amazing in VR, and we know fans are going to love it," said David Cole, CEO of NextVR, which also announced at CES that the videos will be available on the forthcoming Lenovo Mirage Solo headset. 

Women Take On CES

The Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES each year, came under fire ahead of the show for the lack of female representation on stage during its keynotes. A number of women were ultimately added to the lineup before the show — A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc among them — but as sexual harassment scandals continue to roil Hollywood and Silicon Valley, the lack of diversity has become a talking point among attendees. 

Meanwhile, women are carving out their own opportunities during the show. The Girls' Lounge, which began at CES several years ago, on Tuesday hosted its annual tour of the show floor, and Twitter on Wednesday will host an all-female panel moderated by CMO Leslie Berland. 

Refinery29 has also returned to CES this year with a focus on promoting female voices. Attendees who visit the digital media company's suite are handed cards that read, "The underrepresentation of women at this year's CES is glaring, and we still live in a world where the majority of products are designed for men." Inside the room — which has been decked out to represent a theme of the Observation Deck, described as "a world that embraces women's innovation and consumer power" — are pamphlets that share an essay from futurist Danielle Kayembe: "The Silent Rise of the Female-Driven Economy." 

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