“The Witness”. 13th Street Universal’s First Movie of the Outernet.

“The Witness” from Germany production company 13th Street Universal, is a mobile based, interactive game, where those selected to play meet Nadia, the Russian Mafia, and a crime scene. To play, you must apply online. If you are accepted, “You will experience a game like never before.”

The game according to 13th Street Universal, is the “first movie in the outernet” which gives viewers an immersive AR experience through their smartphones. When the game begins, your mission starts where Nadia has been kidnapped, from this point forward the outcome rests in your decisions. Are you the hero or the next victim?

Right now the game can only be played in Berlin, but there is talk of expanding it to other venue cities in the future, depending on the success of this first run.

This is one of those promotions that seem to have everything but the kitchen sink thrown in – augmented reality, smartphones, location-based experiences, real-world interaction, scavenger hunt/gaming mechanics and social networking.

I like the technology being used, and I think the concept behind the experience sounds highly engaging, but I have to wonder; over the course of time how does this idea achieve any scale?

The depth of experience will be difficult to share effectively with video units like this, being pushed to mobile handsets. Then there is the question about limiting activity to one city, or connecting others on a more global scale.

13th Street Universal is probably counting on PR coverage or hoping that this will go viral in order to spread the word. And if they release a more universal version on a larger scale later, they are probably banking on the idea that the winners will be influential enough with their friends to spread the word, and influence participation. It’s hard to say, since this is really the first thing like this that I have seen. One thing though, 13th Street Universal sees the potential of mobile based immersive gaming, and hopefully this will lead to even bigger things.