The concept is great, but the execution? Not really.
These days we have come a long way when it comes to the quality of CG in movies and video games. With beautiful smoothness of motion and smoothness of image, many businesses are able to use computer graphics to create beautiful, detailed scenes with an extremely realistic look that blends perfectly with live action shots, or in the case of video games, which immerse you in the game.
As a result, this level of CG quality – or at least, something close to it – has pretty much become expected of most digital productions. So when that video of a new virtual tourism service created by travel company JTB and two other companies came out, people were blown away by the horror of the graphics.
For a program meant to convey the beauty of Japan to those living overseas, it certainly doesn’t do a good job. Not only are flat graphicsmissing out on the fine detail that accompanies many gaming experiences these days, but transitions and camera movements are blurry and hurt the eyes. From the few snapshots shared in the video, it looks like a video game you might have played on the computer circa 1997, or the kind of graphics you might have seen on the Nintendo 64 a quarter of a century ago. .
JTB collaborated with media company Fun Japan Communications and virtual event company FIXER to create this Japan Extended Reality (XR) Virtual Experiencewho is called Virtual Japanese Platform. Supposedly, you can use it for shopping and sightseeing in a virtual space, but as one Japanese netizen said, “The CG is so bad it has absolutely no appeal. remind to play second life 15 years ago.”
▼ Even JTB President Eijiro Yamakita has his own avatar. It’s not as grumpy as the lame punch he exchanges at the end of the video with Fixer president Seiichi Matsuoka, though.
— 係長 (@cakari14) April 8, 2021
The operation of the service is probably very similar to second life, In reality. Users access create your own avatar, that they use for travel and discover Japanwhile interact with other Avatars along the way. Unlike Second Life, however, this is a paid service; it seems that users have to buy each area in order to experience it. Businesses and organizations can also register to use the service in order to sell specialized products and experiences to users.
The service is available now, but user registration opens slowly, starting with the Asian members of JTB and Fun Japan Communications’ joint project “Fun! Japan”, which uses the media to showcase Japan. Over time, they intend to expand membership to members from other countries as well. By 2024, they hope to amass 10 million users.
Judging by the reviews of Japanese netizens, however, they might not come close to this number:
“Wow, it’s not often that a project fails this badly.”
“They did this on a Sega Saturn?”
“Wouldn’t working with a video game company to use their CG engines have been so much better?” »
“Look at this…I’m so embarrassed for them.”
“It’s too much…”
“It should be ‘Funny Japan’.”
“If it’s virtual interaction, they already have a good model to use in things like VRChat. As a VRChat user, I’m amazed. It’s so dull.
“I thought it was an amateur game until I realized it was made by three companies lol. That’s a bit naive of you…”
“Don’t pick on them! They wanted to save money. I totally understand.
“Games made by independent creators that you can buy for 100 yen (about $1 USD) on Steam can do better than that.”
“Senior art projects for college students are better than that.”
▼ The architecture doesn’t look too bad, at least.
If you’re keen to explore Japan digitally but aren’t particularly impressed with the graphics offered by this digital experience, don’t worry, there are many other ways to discover Japan via the Internet, especially now, in light of the pandemic. The Ghibli Museum, for example, has a virtual tour on YouTube, and the recently opened Super Mario World has an interactive website tour you can explore. You can also visit all 47 prefectures via YouTube and even spend the night in a samurai castle from the comfort of your home!
While these experiences are not the same as visiting these places yourself, they are at least something to satiate your desire to travel until you can do so safely. At the very least, we can promise the visuals are much, much more satisfying!
Source: Official YouTube/JTB, Twitter/@cacari14 Going through Flash info about my game, TravelVoice
Images: Official YouTube/JTB
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