As conversations about the relationship between VR and music continue to grow, Megan Thee Stallion invited her fans into the “Hottieverse” for a piece of the action in the form of a special concert. Equipped with Quest 2 headsets, fans attending “Megan Thee Stallion: Enter Thee Hottieverse” were able to hear the same music over the theater’s surround sound and dance together, all while Megan is performing about two feet in front of your face in a custom virtual environment. At a time where artists are exploring new ways to connect with fans, Megan’s VR experience offers one possibility of what happens with the next wave of fan engagement.
“Enter Thee Hottieverse” was a 10 city VR music tour that ran from April to July of this year. Powered by AmazeVR, the experience marries Megan’s charm and stage presence, with interactive technology. Upon entering the theater, fans (aka “Hotties”) were greeted and directed to their seats as Megan’s music videos played on the main screen. As fans waited, they were able to mingle and meet other supporters in their local area, like fostering a sense of community that mirrored making new friends while waiting on line for a show.
Staffers then gave a short intro of what to expect and how to enjoy the show while remaining safe. The experience launched with a short game that served as a first person shooter, but also a calibrator that measured one’s hand-eye coordination. Friends were able to compete for small trinkets that resembled Megan’s pet dogs. Once everyone completed the game, fans were tasked with collectively “blowing up” the portal into the Hottieverse, where the concert aspect would then begin.
Megan started her performance by rapping the opening lines to “Savage” from her 2020 EP, “Suga.” As the viewer, you could look around the environment and catch unique angles and points of view. The environment was spaceship-themed and was an elevated vision of music video sets from the ’90s. Unfortunately, once the music portion began, the interactiveness diminished, as the environment could not be engaged with.
The next song was “Body,” from her debut album, “Good News.” This time, Megan was joined by humanoid simulation characters that brought their own personality to the mix. They resembled IMVU and “Sims” characters while blending in and elevating Megan. Fans of simulation-driven video games will appreciate the character design and creative direction.
Megan started the final song, “Kitty Kat” in standard hot girl fashion, by mixing twerking with refined 8-step choreography while she looked directly into the camera. It felt personalized and intimate without entering the uncanny valley. As she finished the last verse, fans could be heard jumping and shouting while recreating the choreography. The crowd was active, but not incorporating the items won in the pre-performance game was a bit of a missed opportunity, as the situation called for VR fan engagement once Megan started.
Still, Megan is an artist who thrives on any platform she tries, from Instagram live to arena stages, and that’s why “Enter Thee Hottieverse” works. The technology certainly surpassed attempts such as Travis Scott’s Fortnite collaboration and Muse’s Stageverse experience.
However, the lack of connection between the user-based activities and the music portion left fans wanting something a bit more engaging. Attendees were also asked not to leave their general meeting area, although a few fans certainly did, to dance. At the very least, this offers a new opportunity for fans to feel connected with their favorite artists, although as a live concert replacement, the technology is promising but still has a way to go.