Escape Rooms to Virtual Reality
People don’t usually plan on going on a fun excursion, like to an escape room, and walk away with a new business idea. That’s what happened to Adrian Duke, COO of Immersive Tech, the company upgrading the location entertainment center (LEC) industry with their location-based VR UNCONTAINED shipping containers. Before the company considered virtual reality, Duke and his co-founder, Jeffrey Jang, knew they could build better escape rooms.
“I went to try out the escape room in Richmond [Vancouver, Canada]. I was really excited about it because the concept was unique and interesting,” said Duke. He was “locked” inside the cargo hold of a ship, not knowing how he got there and had to escape. “When we got there it was a really big letdown. The room was essentially a doctor’s office… there was no production value.” The gameplay was disappointing too. “We were intrigued by the opportunity to do it better,” said Duke.
At the time, Duke had a company that made safety and automation control systems for water slides and amusement parks. Duke said, “A lightbulb went off in my head that we could do [escape rooms] with more interactivity and technology.” He pitched the idea to Jeffrey Jang. Together they launched their first escape room in Vancouver called G.U.E.S.S. HQ. From the beginning, a persistent experience was the driver behind the escape room.
“We always had a vision to be designers and builders for escape rooms around the world,” said Duke. “We wanted to be involved in the creative process of continuing to develop games and technologies to make games more interesting.” Immersive escape rooms took off. Immersive Tech continued developing escape rooms for operators but they saw an opportunity to work with brands by creating interactive corporate training and marketing activations. Immersive Tech worked with brands like Intel, Capital One, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on portable escape rooms they could deploy globally.
How Designing Escape Rooms Prepares you for a Business Pivot
Immersive Tech hit its stride, built its team, and advanced its installation technology. The escape room for Bayer was the first one Immersive Tech built inside a shipping container. “We put it into a shipping container so everything was already installed,” said Duke. “It was by far our best work yet.” Then COVID-19 hit. Event activations disappeared. Corporate training when online. Duke and Jang had to figure out what the company should do. Online events weren’t the real-world interactions combined with digital interactions that they were passionate about.
“We decided to look internally at what would be the best use of our skills and experience to date and we learned that VR allowed us to eliminate the high cost of theming,” said Duke. “There’s no economies of scale for a physical environment.” In VR, the team could focus on the details and scale for operators without being too expensive.
Adrian and the team realized that “the VR space became an interesting place for us to play.” The shipping container became a medium to deploy the escape rooms. Everything could be consistent and deployed in the same manner.
Adrian Duke and Jeffery Jang built Immersive Tech on the vision of being builders. They were able to weave digital narrative into physical challenges for customers. That vision set them up for their next chapter. As Immersive Tech prepared to embrace virtual reality, their shipping container production became a key to new business in a post-pandemic world.
About Immersive Tech
As an industry leader in blending amusement park engineering and video game development, Immersive Tech has established strong working relationships with top organizations including: Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Intel, Allegiant Airlines, Capital One, Scotia Bank, and the US Food and Drug Administration among others for brand activations at events including X-Games, Boston Hub Week among others. Over the past four years. Immersive Tech has built highly sought after escape room experiences for some of the largest Family Entertainment groups globally including APEX Entertainment., and Kalahari Resorts. Immersive tech also operates the newly launched company “UNCONTAINED”, the world’s first COVID-safe free-roam VR shipping container Location-Based Entertainment franchise. For more info visit the company’s website at www.ImmersiveTech.co