The LONGEST article ever written about the out-of-home entertainment industry just got LONGER

Back in 2019, Jim Kessler of Lasertron wrote an article, "Why Did the Out-of-Home (OOH) Entertainment Industry Apocalypse Happen? where he assumed he was in 2039, looking back at the history of the out-of-home entertainment industry. He recently revisited the article, adding comments on what he sort of got right, what he got wrong, what's still too soon to call, and what he didn't see coming. The name of his revised article is "The LONGEST article ever written about the Out-of-Home Entertainment Industry just got Longer." You can read the entire article here.

Here are some key extracts with some minor editing from his revised article that we believe are very relevant to the future of the industry (but you should really read the entire article).

What I [Jim Kessler] definitely got wrong is that I placed too much emphasis on the Attraction part and not enough on the Social part. But that's not exactly right either. The reality is that both the Social and the Attraction/Social Gaming parts are very important, but they need to be combined in the best ways possible.

It's the integration of our Attractions, Social Gaming experiences, and other services like food and drinks that is critical to enabling our guests to socialize and bond at a much higher level with their friends, family, and coworkers away from home and away from work.

When I wrote this article prior to IAAPA in 2019, I had no freaking idea that the Social part was going to be as important as it IS to the survival of our out-of-home entertainment industry.

Again, the big miss for me was not knowing how big a deal Social Gaming was going to be in 2023 and far into the future. Social Gaming is literally THE BIG THING that is going to enable our industry to more competitively compete with in-home and mobile entertainment.

The number one reason Social Gaming is so important is because it's the campfire that enables humans to gather together. Playing, socializing, and sitting together with other human beings is the one thing that MOST humans crave>. Since Covid, far too many humans have gotten comfortable with just staying at home (by the way, the "campfire" idea is something I learned from Randy White - it's something I think about frequently).

There is literally an epidemic of loneliness happening, and Social Gaming "when done right" can significantly reduce that feeling of loneliness by providing our guests with truly fun and engaging Social Gaming experiences. Experiences that make it easy and fun for friends, family, and coworkers to gather together to socialize out of the home or away from work.

Social Gaming is a critical bridge that enables humans to more easily socialize through play and to ultimately bond with their fellow humans.

In fact, too many big box operators didn't believe the quality of their attractions mattered as long as they were comparable to what other centers were offering. They believed having more stuff was the key to their success, along with providing a more complicated sit-down dining experience, which was also much more labor intensive.

By the way, sit-down dining with a hostess and table service is probably the worst idea ever for an out-of-home entertainment venue - especially since Social Gaming requires a very different style of food and beverage service. Fast casual food and beverage service is really the only way to go.

The continuation of skyrocketing labor costs, which was accelerated by Covid, is or should be, the final nail in the coffin for restaurant-style food & beverage service for out-of-home entertainment venues.

Most sit-down dining spaces will be converted to Social Gaming spaces with bar-height seating along with integrated fast casual eating and drinking service. If done right, these spaces will become much more profitable and actually sell more Food & Beverage than before the conversion.

Right now, in 2023, we are at the very beginning of a Social Gaming renaissance. Why did I use the word "renaissance" instead of the NEXT BIG THING? Well, because Social Gaming isn't new. In fact, bowling is a great example of a Social Gaming experience, and it's been around for a very long time.

There are other out-of-home Social Gaming experiences, but most haven't significantly improved until recently. We are now seeing upscale Dart and Shuffleboard venues as well as upscale Axe Throwing and Table Tennis venues. They are basically doing the same thing many Bowling venues have already done, which is creating a high-end boutique-style Social Gaming experience.

Human Face-to-Face Social Gaming ISthe 800-pound gorillathat will help our out-of-home entertainment venues to thrive far into the future! BUT only if we make them 10x better AND different than what can be experienced in the home .

A 10x OOH Only Attraction and Social Experience is 100% over the top. It can ONLY be experienced out of the home and is dramatically different and better than anything else that can be done in our city or town.

A 10x OOH Only Attraction and Social Experience includes additional tools that help to significantly elevate each guest's experience by creating a truly unique, highly positive, and unforgettable impression. The overall experience is so exceptional that a high percentage of our guests become obsessed with repeating the experience several times per month.

Developing a truly unique 10x OOH Only Attraction and Social Experience is all about creating a holistic environment that facilitates multiple opportunities for humans to interact with friends, family, guests, and even fans of the attraction experience and the players who play it

We did (8) lanes of Axe Throwing out of the gate [at our Rochester location] - Why? Because you either go big or go home. Starting with less than eight Axe Throwing lanes means you're leaving the ships in the harbor instead of burning them!

The above is only some of the wisdom in Jim's article. It is worth the investment in time to read the longest article ever written about the out-of-home entertainment industry

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