TOKYO, May 20, 2021 – ANA HOLDINGS INC. (hereinafter “ANA HD”) has partnered with leading game studio JP GAMES, Inc.1 to launch ANA NEO, Inc. (hereinafter “ANA NEO”) an interactive virtual platform that will bring the joy of travel and unique online shopping opportunities to audiences worldwide. Key to the ANA NEO platform is the “SKY WHALE” where users will be able to travel and access interactive activities and other environments within ANA NEO. The service is scheduled to launch in 2022, and it will be a welcome sight in an age when COVID-19 has accelerated digitization while curtailing travel opportunities. ANA NEO harnesses the latest breakthroughs to forge new bonds between people and cultures.
“ANA NEO will open up the joy of travel to a much broader audience and provide users with an unrivaled experience,” said Mitsuo Tomita, president and CEO of ANA NEO. “Complete with realistic recreations of famous tourist sites and unprecedented shopping options, ANA NEO will help people explore the world from the comfort and convenience of a connected smart device. As the first global airline to launch this type of platform, we are excited to open up new possibilities and new experiences for people.”
“Much like travel, virtual platforms are an excellent way to connect with people and experience new things,” said Hajime Tabata, chief producer of ANA NEO and Chief Executive Officer of JP GAMES. “ANA NEO is a bold new reimagining of a virtual platform, leveraging the latest breakthroughs to create an immersive digital world that captures the wonder of travel and lets families and friends tour them together.”
SKY WHALE Travel Platform
The SKY WHALE is a digital vessel that transcends time and space and provides transportation within the world ANA NEO offers. Featuring three distinct areas with recreations of real world locations, ANA NEO also offers a wide range of customization options for users. In addition, items in the digital world can be acquired and partnerships with leading retailers will allow users to make real world purchases while logged in to SKY WHALE with their smartphones. Users will be able to utilize their ANA miles within the world of SKY WHALE as well as experience services with the avatar robot developed by avatarin Inc.
This interactive virtual environment has been created by chief producer Hajime Tabata, the man behind the massively successful Final Fantasy XV. World-renowned violinist and composer Taro Hakase will oversee the music for SKY WHALE, with music specifically selected to enhance the travel experience.
Sky Park: Designed from a blank digital canvas with global users in mind, the “Sky Park” area will employ advanced 3D graphics to create an immersive environment. Users can explore Sky Park on their own or with a group of friends and family. As an added value that only the ANA Group can provide, it is also possible for users to book a real travel plan that matches the virtual experience. By allowing customers to enjoy virtual travel, we hope to stimulate demand for real travel, thereby attracting more customers.
Sky Mall: The “Sky Mall” is a virtual shopping space inspired by airport shopping and entertainment areas. In addition to virtual shopping, “Sky Mall” will promote regional culture and local products by making real-world artisanal crafts and items available worldwide.
Sky Village: In the “Sky Village” area, SKY WHALE will provide access to medical care, education, and government services in a virtual environment, making it the model for a virtual smart city.
SKY WHALE will introduce JP GAMES’ Pegasus World Kit2 cyberspace service engine which features blockchain technology. Capable of safely processing digital transactions, Pegasus World Kit will make it possible for SKY WHALE to make strides towards Society 5.0 by integrating reality and cyberspace.
ANA NEO’s SKY WHALE is an innovative platform provided by the ANA Group. Supported by government tourism bureaus and related organizations in Japan and abroad, ANA NEO will provide users around the world with a new experience that connects them to the real world – regardless of time or place – through the virtual space developed by ANA NEO in collaboration with a wide range of partners.
1. JP GAMES: JP GAMES is a game development studio that was officially launched in February 2019 by Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata, formerly a member of the Square Enix Group. Founded on the concept of “Taking RPGs to the next level and creating an abundant future with games,” JP GAMES seeks to pursue new possibilities for games without being held back by conventional frameworks. Official website: https://www.jpgamesinc.com/
2. Pegasus World Kit: A cyberspace service engine that allows users to freely control their avatars from various platforms such as smartphones, PCs, and VR devices, and create a space where they can gather to participate in events, shop and enjoy digital content with their friends.
*This image is a sample as the actual product is still under development.