• Chunichi Shimbun


A couple put on a pair of goggles and a wedding aisle appeared in front of them as flowers rained down.

The virtual video experience was thanks to Nagoya-based smartphone games developer Ateam Inc.’s wedding simulation software, which the company hopes will help engaged couples plan their weddings.

As shown by the recent trend of jimikon (simple weddings), more and more couples are avoiding elaborate ceremonies to save money. The virtual reality software aims to reverse that.

Ateam’s app, named Sugukon VR, fusing sugu (soon) with kon from kekkon (marriage), is used with headphones and goggles that people slip their smartphones into. It is unique because the videos are taken from the perspectives of both bride and groom.Other attempts at VR software merely imposed clients’ images on magazine ads for wedding locations, but Ateam strove to make the experience more realistic by advancing to videos and audio.

The video responds to one’s movements. For example, with the goggles on, the groom can turn to see his bride in all her finery. If he then swings back he sees the wedding guests.

Couples can also use the software to check out wedding locations at hotel resorts overseas to avoid the expense of checking them out in person.

Ateam’s app uses technology it developed for a horse racing game that lets players view the race from the point of view of a jockey. It is a response in part to the fact that fewer engaged couples are holding elaborate wedding ceremonies.

According to a survey by A.T.brides, a subsidiary of Ateam that manages websites listing wedding locations, approximately 670,000 couples get married every year but around 300,000 stop short of holding a wedding ceremony. This means there are fewer chances for young people to attend weddings.

“The number of people who do not know what to do in a wedding is increasing,” said Eriko Osaki, CEO of A.T.brides.

A staff member at Ateam said: “By using VR technology, we can create a system so that relatives who live far away and cannot attend the wedding will still be able to experience it.”

Ateam will film different wedding locations in Japan and other countries until the end of the year and allow clients to virtually experience them at customer service counters run by A.T.brides.

This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on Sept. 7.

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