The convergence of entertainment and promotion has led to much of the new investment seen, and brand promotion linked to the incorporation of IP into the mix has seen a growth of investment. In this latest report, we look at the areas of the greatest crossover of investment in the Out-of-Home Entertainment sector and how this is expanding to include other areas of the business.
– The Virtual Crossover!
In this time of changing demands, with an audience stuck at home, the need to pivot to offering consumer products while we wait for the amusement and attraction scene to regenerate, is a means to keep revenue coming in for many. We have previously covered, in The Stinger Report, the pivot of Escape Rooms and FEC developers to Virtual Conferencing live events; and amusement hardware manufacturers turning to manufacturing consumer variants of amusement pieces. Regarding the VR and Immersive scene, the opportunities are also beginning to evolve.
Several leading VR content providers and venue operators have started to invest in what is seen as “The Virtual Crossover”, in the ability to utilize the amassed resources to support consumer VR owners, and also encourage interest in returning to the venues to try the commercial adaptations.
The lack of a serious installed base to support a consumer VR release has started to be answered by the latest generation of VR hardware. There is a great interest in PC VR systems such as Valve’s Index, and HP’s Reverb G2 – while the MobileVR (Standalone) scene has seen an amazing take-up of the Oculus Quest 2 headset, after its launch in October. The content download site is run by Valve, and ‘Steam’ reported in January that, in carrying out their user’s surveys, over 50-percent of VR users were downloading their content from the platform on an Oculus piece of hardware. This is a major achievement towards Facebook’s goal of turning consumer usage of VR mainstream.
Haptics and force-feedback stimuli are elements that have been added to the amusement gaming experience for decades. The pinball table ‘Earthshaker!’, in 1989, from Williams Electronic Games, was the first to incorporate haptics through vibration. At the same time, Atari launched the video ‘Hard Drivin’’ – along with many firsts, it had realistic force-feedback steering. Though current technology is now making this element even achievable on consumer systems – as we stated in The Stinger Report’s CES’21 coverage, with the 9thGen home gaming platforms, such as the Sony PS5 console and its ‘DualSence’ game controller.
The importance of the peripheral market in support of the amusement, and even eSports gaming scene, was brought into sharp relief with the news that computer and technology giant, HP, would be acquiring the game accessory brand ‘HyperX’, for the sum of $425m, from parent company Kingston Technology. This is a major brand, with key sponsorships deals in support of peripherals in the eSports professional sector. This is yet another example of the impact of crossover in the placing of brands and services in the international sector.
– Crossover in Entertainment Facilities
Before we look at facilities, there are the larger theme park and resort implementations of crossover of intellectual properties (IPs). In a long-proven formula, theme parks have incorporated recognisable consumer brands – borrowing this activity from the ‘World’s Fair’ approach of the 1930s, to heavily corporate sponsored entertainment. The latest example of this was seen with the announcement of the world’s first ‘Peppa Pig Theme Park’, at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Merlin Entertainment signed with property owner Hasbro to open a unique land dedicated to the popular toy and television brand, with appropriately themed attractions. It is scheduled to open at the site in 2022.