Some people think escape rooms are a passing fad, and they are entitled to their opinion. However, as an escape game enthusiast, and as an owner of an escape room software company, I believe the escape room industry is still growing and changing!
New Escape Rooms are Opening All the Time!
It is estimated that there are around 5,000 escape rooms around the world, and over 2,000 in the USA alone. However, there are still lots of new escape room companies opening! It used to be that only large cities had enough residents or tourists to keep an escape room company in business. Now though, escape rooms are popping up in a variety of suburbs and small towns too. For example, Brits used to play escape games in big cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham. Now there are escape rooms in places like Llandudno, Wales—a small town of only 20,000 people.
New Escape Room Services are Launching All the Time!
More and more businesses/service providers are catering to escape rooms, so they must think the industry is growing too! For example, there used to be only generic hotel-style booking systems (such as Bookeo, Bookify, and Checkfront). Now there are booking systems specifically designed for escape rooms (such as EscapeAssist, EscapeTix, Nowescape, SimplyBook.me, and more). Similarly, there used to be only a couple companies that made game management software (mainly Escape Room Master and Houdini MC), but now there are at least ten (EscapeAssist, Mythric Mystery Master, EscapeRoomBuilder, ClueControl, BlinderUp, and others). I do not think all of these business people would spend time and money on escape-room centered businesses if it were a dying industry!
Escape Rooms are Getting More Sophisticated Every Day!
Escape rooms used to rely on traditional locks, and use inexpensive props. First generation escape rooms were understandably basic, because people were hesitant to invest large amounts of money in an industry that may not take off. Now however, it is clear that escape rooms are a lucrative business, and owners are designing complex, high-tech rooms. Many escape rooms now have incredibly immersive sets and props. For example, in Los Angeles and New York City, I have played escape rooms with movie studio/broadway theater level sets and props. Many rooms also use live actors to make the experience more immersive.
Technology in escape rooms also gets more impressive every day. Many rooms use sensors to automatically open doors, deliver hints electronically, and some games are completely automated so the game master doesn’t have to lift a finger. A few escape games are also starting to incorporate virtual reality.
Famous Companies are Opening Escape Rooms!
Escape rooms are not just mom and pop shops anymore. Famous companies outside the traditional escape room industry such as Disney, Lowe’s, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Comedy Central, and many others are creating escape rooms. With that kind of money/resources behind them, escape games do not seem to be disappearing any time soon.
Escape Rooms are so Popular There are Spin-Off Activities Like Them!
The escape room industry is growing, and even growing out of the 4-walled room!
Mobile escape rooms are an exciting way to play escape games. People are refurbishing buses/trailers and bringing the game directly to customers. Not only are mobile escape rooms great for corporate/private events (and fun for players); they are a great tool to promote the industry— they are literally an escape room ad driving around for all to see.
Outdoor escape rooms are popping up in the summer, and in places with warm climates. Why not play solve puzzles in the sunshine? Companies such as Escape Woods, Escape Maze, and Rustic Riddles have the same quality puzzles as other escape rooms, they are simply played outside.
Puzzle scavenger hunts are another outdoor activity similar to escape rooms. Players can get their fill of escape room style puzzles, while exploring the city. The best games even incorporate the city’s local history/architecture into their puzzles/clues. Scavenger hunt companies include Clue Keeper, Action Bound, Scaventour, Cluetivity, and many more.
I would love to hear your opinion about the escape room “fad” so feel free to leave comments below!