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Escape room

Using VR in the Escape Room Business

From their humble beginnings as a game for a group of close friends in Tokyo, to the huge business that escape room games have become, they are evolving as time passes. The newest ingredient is playing the games via virtual reality (VR)...
2021.01.20.

From their humble beginnings as a game for a group of close friends in Tokyo, to the huge business that escape room games have become, they are evolving as time passes. The newest ingredient is playing the games via virtual reality (VR). Because this requires physical headsets, it still needs a common space to play, unlike the much more common online escape room games which can be played on your laptop or mobile device whilst seated on your sofa at home. But VR does offer some benefits over real-life bricks and mortar games. For a start, it reduces costs, yet improves the scalability of the business, as well as increasing the different types of game scenarios. But there are some hidden negatives which we’ll look into in more depth here.

Managing Business and Player Expectations

We all have an idea of what an escape room is and how we should go about playing in it. But VR offers a different experience. As a business owner, you’ll need to understand the difference between the two. Keep in mind that VR for escape rooms is a relatively new process and it’ll take some time for the public to fall into line and start taking it seriously. For many customers, it’ll be their first time playing any game, let alone an escape room game using this new technology. All the ins and outs must be carefully explained to keep any higher expectations in check. As you well know, the idea is to under-promise but over-deliver.

A good idea is to provide as much information as you can on your escape room business website. This should include Youtube videos which will give as close as is possible, the same experience a player would get when immersed in the gameplay. This will hopefully ensure that your customers have a better idea of exactly what they’re signing up for and will help allay any feelings of disappointment.


Maintain Hygiene


This is the number one priority. As materials are shared, please ensure that they are thoroughly wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes after each game. The same goes for headsets, ear-pieces, and all items that the customer can lay his hands on.


Kinetosis


This refers to the “motion sickness” that can affect users of the VR equipment. Not everyone will feel bad but there are some things that you can do to mitigate the effects. The first is to maintain the room temperature between 18 - 22 degrees C. Also note that eating unhealthy foods before playing on a VR headset will also cause kinetosis. Being drunk is another no-no, but then again you should never have a drunk playing in an escape room. 
It’s important to ask beforehand as to whether any of the players suffer from kinetosis. We suggest that you don’t use the word “sick” or describe the illness as a “sickness” as this creates a negative automatic reaction in some players. If you do have a player who’s feeling the effects of kinetosis, then ensure that they are feeling comfortable and make sure that they know to let the game master know, as soon as they start to feel unwell. If a player is too unwell to continue, then make sure that they are well looked after. It’ll show up at some point in the feedback  after they leave.


Marketing VR

Many escape rooms make the mistake of thinking that advertising using the VR as the selling point is all there is to do. Just the technology should be enough to bring the customers in through the door. But that’s not the main reason why people visit an escape room. You should concentrate on selling the reasons why people love these games. That means focusing on the fun element, the teamwork, the socializing, and the triumph of victory over all the odds. Remember that as a business owner, you’re selling the experience. Not the product. If you keep this fact in the front of your mind, then you’ll do well. 


Remove Obstacles


If you’re ever had the pleasure of witnessing a group of players, all with VR headsets and playing any game, it’s both hilarious and slightly nerve-racking, as they all stumble around the room crashing into each other and the furniture. So, we suggest that you remove anything that might get in the way. Keep the floor space as clear of objects as possible. There needs to be an employee present at all times. And they need to be monitoring the game, not playing on their phones. This will help reduce the risk of any players getting injured. 

We’re going to assume that at least one person under your employ who's at the room will know First Aid. This will help ensure that if anyone falls or receives any sort of injury, there’s practical help at hand.


Conclusion: Using VR in The Escape Room


This is a brief list of more negative things you’ll need to keep in mind should you wish to embark on the VR route. But the upsides do outweigh any negatives. There’s a reason why so many escape room games are beginning to invest in VR technology. It all comes down to profit. 
Without a doubt, VR is coming. As an escape room business owner, you’d better be ready or the competition will already be way out in front of you before you even start looking into VR games and equipment. On the whole, all the issues that we mentioned can be easily overcome with just a bit of planning. We suggest that you start making the effort to look into incorporating VR games into your escape room business right now. Everyone else is!

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