EXCLUSIVE: DCN Goes Hands On With DCU App At Comic Con

This past weekend at San Diego Comic Con, DCComicsNews.com was invited up to the DC Universe Experience where we received special access to their showroom and got a chance to check out what the DC Universe app really has to offer. I met with Rob from the products team who was our guide and there to take questions on the app.

But enough of the introduction – let’s dive right into it!

DC LIVE ACTION ON THE GO

By now you may have heard about how this app is being touted as DC’s one stop place for a lot of their content that includes movies, television shows, animated movies, and even comic books. The service will include a collection of classic DC movies such as the iconic Superman movies with Christopher Reeves, both the Tim Burton and Nolan Batman movies, and some less familiar DC content such as The Flash tv show from the 90’s.

As of right now, there are no plans to bring over the Snyder DCEU to the service although they are continuing to work on bringing as much content to the service as possible. Licensing issues are relevant here considering HBO would want first crack at the DCEU movies before they go the DCU app.

Of course the new live action programs were featured prominently during the demo and at the exhibit, with new shows such as Titans, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, and a mature animated show featuring Harley Quinn. At the time of my demo, Geoff Johns had already revealed the newest addition to the service, the live action Stargirl.

Cartoon series such as Justice League and Batman: The Animated Series will be included as well alongside Warner Bros Animation features such as Batman: Year One and All Star Superman.

There will be other smaller shows featured on the service but the main question I had regarding tv shows was of course the Arrowverse. Due to an entanglement of licensing issues with other streaming services, the Arrowverse will not be on the DCU service for the time being but I was assured that they are continuing to work on getting as much content onto the platform as possible.

DAY ONE ACCESS TO NEW COMICS

By now we are all aware about digital versions of comics available through a number of online services but the DCU app looks to offer a bit more than what’s out there. In addition to offering some curated titles from the golden and silver ages of comics (e.g. Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27), the service will offer current titles from the New 52 all the way up to Rebirth.

I asked specifically if fans will have access to the titles the same day as when they are available in the comic shop and the answer was yes (although I’m going to wait and see how this will turn out). As to whether or not new books will be available for free or for a fee, it’s difficult to determine at this time. I then asked about how extensive the catalogue was going to be. I was told that at launch they are shooting to have around 30,000 books available on the service. That sounds like a pretty lofty goal but we’ll have to wait and see.

As for the comic reader itself, it’s pretty simple and easy to use and includes a play mode where panels are moved every 8 seconds so you don’t have to swipe constantly on your phone or tablet. Seeing the comics on a big TV certainly makes a difference in terms of seeing little details in the art. One can also imagine sharing the experience of reading a comic for the first time with others rather than just passing issues or tablets around to each other.

Some of the titles included at launch:

MY DC PLAYLISTS

Another one of the features showed off during the demo was the ‘My DC’ feature. This feature will allow users to build their profiles so they can interact in the community(more on that later) as well create your own playlist of content. For example, you will be able to create a playlist of content based around Superman, Batman, or maybe even Blue Beetle if that’s more of your thing.

I asked for example would I be able to create a playlist that would combine all the titles related to Dark Nights: Metal for easy access. The answer was yes. However, there will be no way to share your playlists with friends in the community for now but one could imagine the feature being added soon.

DC COMMUNITY

The DC Community feature from the service is being presented as a way for users to interact with other users and share their fandom and opinions with them. It’s being presented as a message board that you might be accustomed to if you’ve been on Reddit or something similar but in this case, it will be heavily moderated.

The message boards will be moderated by an in-house team of moderators to provide as family-friendly of a service as possible. I asked if fans will be eventually be allowed to become moderators as is the case with most message boards and was told that they are open to the idea but again they want to see how things work out at launch.

I mentioned during the demo how one of my favorite partnerships between a website and a streaming service from the past was when Criterion Collection teamed with Hulu to have links ready on the Criterion website that will take you straight to the movie. I asked if the main DC website will have this feature and they haven’t set that up but will look into it.

FINAL VERDICT

Based off of the demo I witnessed, the service definitely looks promising. The fact that fans will be able to watch shows exclusive to the platform is a plus but for me personally, the real selling point is the comic reader. I can definitely see myself inviting friends over to read comics on the big screen with the autoplay feature. Having curated lists as well as creating my own playlists is definitely a plus. If you’re telling me I can read Doomsday Clock #12 in the app when the physical copies comes out in retail stores, that’s a game changer but we’ll have to wait and see.

I know that some of you are looking at this service and are saying to yourselves this is just another streaming service, which it is, but I think DC Universe is more of a jumping on point for people unfamiliar with DC in general. I definitely plan on checking out the service and I am most interested to see how far the features and playlists go.

A big selling point for me would be if the app was available on consoles like PS4 or Xbox One but they would only say that they are looking into bringing the app to those platforms next year. As of launch, the app will be available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku.

What do you guys think? I would really love to hear what you think about the app. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments down below.

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Joseph Marcas

Joseph is a contributor to DC Comics News and hopes to someday become a superhero. He enjoys writing, politics, and everything between ballet and monster truck rallies.