SXSW 2018: Spielberg Showed Off His Moves in TheWaveVR's Ready Player One VR Experience

The Distracted Globe has been brought to VR HMDs, but it required a virtual visit from the legendary filmmaker himself.


Ready Player One is headed to theaters at the end of March and, as such, has a massive presence at SXSW 2018 this month. Part of that presence is a collection of VR experiences to serve as virtual marketing activations for the film and TheWaveVR was honored with an opportunity to bring an iconic scene to life. The Distracted Globe is a cool experience that falls in line with TheWaveVR’s focus on VR for musicians, but it had to get the green light from Steven Spielberg himself.

The second floor of the Ready Player One venue is set up to look like The Stacks, the home of the film’s protagonist where rundown trailers are stacked upon one and another and held together with metal beams. For SXSW it served as the home of a collection of Ready Player One VR arcade experiences and this is also where I met up with Adam Arrigo, the CEO and Co-founder of TheWaveVR, to discuss his team's contribution to SXSW 2018. The process of creating The Distracted Globe starting with a call from HTC.

“Ian from HTC called us up at the beginning of the year and told us about the project,” Arrigo says. “It was really just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Since we started the company 2 years ago, everyone would always compare what we do to ‘that scene in Ready Player One’.”

The Distracted Globe is a zero-gravity nightclub found in Ready Player One’s virtual world The Oasis. TheWaveVR earned the comparison before Ready Player One’s film adaptation hit the scene, but you do get a glimpse of the club in the trailers that have been released. The version TheWaveVR put together was based on visual assets for the film that the company received from Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company founded by George Lucas, and Spielberg stepped into the VR club during one of TheWaveVR team’s regular check-ins with Warner Bros. Arrigo says not only has Spielberg played around with VR a bit, “he’s advanced.”

“In fact, when we were waiting for his avatar to spawn in, all of a sudden I got a call from John at Warner and he’s like ‘yea, Steven’s in’,” Arrigo recalls. “And I was like, ‘I must have missed him, where is he?’”

Adam was prepared to teach him the controls but he was already flying around with the Iron Giant. “He was honestly hard to keep up with because he was so good.”

Ultimately, the project got the Steven Spielberg stamp of approval. If you’re at SXSW 2018, you can check it out but, if you aren’t, The Distracted Globe is being added to the Steam application Thursday, March 15, so you can check it out in the comfort of your own home. Stay tuned to Shacknews for more SXSW 2018 coverage.

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at

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