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Sony’s Streaming Service Crackle Jumps Into VR

The free streaming TV network is creating VR content for original programming like Snatch, along with immersive sponsorships for advertisers.

Rupert Grint, known for playing Harry Potter’s witty ginger haired sidekick, Ron Weasley, has left the world of magic behind for the world of VR. Announced last week by Crackle, Sony’s free streaming TV network, original drama series Snatch will be getting an exclusive VR bonus experience on PlayStation VR this summer.

Grint serves as both an actor and an executive producer on the show, based loosely on the popular movie of the same name. Snatch is about a group of on-the-rise young hustlers in London who are thrust into the dangerous, high-stakes world of organized crime. Snatch’s premise, star power (Grint is joined by Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick, Skins’ Luke Pasqualino, and Scream Queens’ Lucien Laviscount, among others), and creative direction helmed by showrunner, writer, and producer Alex De Rakoff helped it earn the title of the network’s most-streamed scripted original series to date.

“Rupert, Luke and the rest of the cast have created memorable characters who truly resonated with our viewers, and we look forward to following their adventures in season two of Snatch, ” said Eric Berger, Crackle, GM and EVP, Digital, Sony Pictures Television Networks, in an announcement for the second season renewal slated for 2018 at the network’s upfront presentation at Sony Square.

Produced with Future Lighthouse, the six-minute immersive experience will transport you into the hustlers’ world of crime and chaos in London. The episode was shot over a span of four days in Manchester, with each actor filming on separate days. During the experience, you become one of the hustlers and have to make a quick decision on whether to try and crack open a safe or run for cover before the cops arrive at the scene.

The network recognizes the appeal and creative possibilities for VR in storytelling, especially in a high stake, high energy show like Snatch. “In VR the viewer has a lot of power and controls the outcome,” said Future Lighthouse CEO Nicolas Alcala. “Our goal is to teleport you alongside Rupert Grint and his thieving friends to make you feel the adrenaline of the heist. We want the viewers to have agency over where they want this caper to go.”

Crackle VR Theater

The latest Snatch VR announcement is all part of a larger push by the network to become the first ad-supported video-on-demand network to provide VR-based advertising opportunities for brands. On the heels of rivals Netflix and Hulu, who have already announced their own VR plans and content rollout, Crackle is developing a virtual theater environment where you can watch videos in a VR headset.

The virtual theater will let you stream Crackle content on a big screen. It’s here that you can probably expect brand advertisement or even 360° video commercials. Crackle mentioned that the VR theater will be developed for smartphones, Google Cardboard, Gear VR and PlayStation VR. Crackle has also ordered a VR special for the original stop-motion animated series “SuperMansion,” exec-produced by Bryan Cranston and Stoopid Buddy Stoodies (“Robot Chicken”).

While you’ll have to wait a few more months before checking out the network’s latest VR content programming, you can head on over to Crackle to see what all the hype is about today.

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