In Flight Entertainment: The Sky is the Limit



So you caught the flight and the aircraft is now soaring through the clouds. It's a pretty smooth ride, so you put the seat back as far as it will go, hoping is doesn't smash the person in the seat behind you. Looking out the window, you admire the curvature of the planet - the shoes come off and someone offers you a hot napkin...which you drape over your face and go Aahhhhh. Pretty soon you're flipping through that Sky Mall magazine thinking "Hmmm, that sasquatch would be great in my yard too! - wait, what's this? An ink pen that doubles as spy cam? As you turn the pages, the possibilities seem endless. Products you would never purchase are now somehow being seriously considered. Maybe it's the altitude... or the minature whiskey bottles..


As ears pop and adjust, you realize that you forgot the most important thing, your headphones. Reaching deeper into the front pouch, you find a plastic bag which contains those free ones. You know the type, which dont even clamp very good and have dual headphone jacks. Your pro headphones wouldn't have worked anyway! Unless of course, you had the extreme foresight to grab an adapter back at the airport. You wonder if there was a reason for creating the dual plug format in the first place.


Pretty soon, you start poking at the screen in front of you - which is embedded into the headrest - it's your own personal-interactive-entertainment system, so you proceed to browse through the list of entertainments. The stranger sitting next to you is watching your every poke of the screen and decides to fire up their own personal-interactive-entertainment system too.


This menu includes "How to Use Magic" which could be useful, especially if the engine cuts out! You could also teleport right into the first class section. Simply seeing the Games button makes one think: "There are huge possibilities for games that let you play against others on the same flight" From trivia to casual games, this area is largely untapped. Here you have a captive audience of people that are in an altered state from the altitude and much more apt to try new things. As for games, a grid could appear showing other passengers that are playing. On the way to the bathroom, you could tell the person in seat C3 "nice job!" Eventually, someone will tap into this, and probabaly monetize it somehow. It makes sense that even real money gambling could work here. After all, they are now charging for the stuff that used to be free (food, drink, headphones). Yes, sometimes those bad headphones actually cost money.


One things for sure, developers have a unique opportunity with in-flight entertainment. A captive audience on a plane is entirely unique. Game designers are already harnessing this power and bringing some wildly creative gameplay. The game above wasn't even in the kids category, but allows the player to have different body parts from different animals. Eating flies sounds more fun when you are flighing through clouds!

Also, one can easily imagine a cheap, handheld controller for in-flight games. Like the headphones, it could be free (or paid) and deliver a more immersive experience. I would personally love to play something like Street Fighter in-flight, but also a nice brain game where I could high-five the person next to me. Otherwise, we may not even talk through the entire flight. Games can connect and unite people, which is sorely needed in a world of inner-worlds.

Speaking of headphones, we can't always be tied to our studios. When working on the road, you need a solid set of headphones. I've always used the Sony MDR 7506's for their flat response, but recently was introduced to mastering headphones. The Ultrasone Edition 8 Mastering Headphones are the absolute pinnacle when it comes to closed ear dessign. These go for $1,499 and look pretty normal, but after listening you won't want to remove them.


Of course, you may want to grab those free ones after all, since passengers and consumers listen on mostly low end products. While you're at it, grab some of those "Beats" headphones - they may have exagerated low end, but I'm seeing alot of these clamped on peoples heads.