On a mission to build the world’s first immersive entertainment platform, Immersive Gamebox utilises best-in-class technology to create social adventures in interactive smart rooms. We recently caught up with company CEO & Co-Founder Will Dean, MBE to discuss how its recent expansion is only the start of its global growth and how its concept is enhancing the social experience.
Immersive Gamebox is a group gaming platform reinventing screen time and is creating meaningful human connection through social gaming. The concept behind Immersive Gamebox is to play interactive games that are based around social fun, teamwork and group experiences. Immersive Gamebox features an extensive library, including games such as Angry Birds and Squid Game as a result of strategic partnerships as well as original IP games. Through the IGB visor and patented technology for immersive screens, players truly become a part of the game.
The Co-Founders Will Dean and David Spindler are driven by a desire to unite the world through technology-enabled shared play and feel that play is more than just having fun. They feel that shared play in particular has the power to bring us together, create bonds and remind us of what it means to be human. They are challenging the ever increasing issue of social isolation caused by technology and flipping it on its head.
Immersive Gamebox currently operates 20 locations across the US and EMEA and is rapidly adding new locations to the portfolio. The company operates across malls, family entertainment centres and dense city locations from New York and London to Berlin and Dubai.
Immersive Gamebox is scaling quickly to meet demand as the company just hit its 700,000th customer. With 12 locations in the US, and more to come, the company is also continuing to expand outside the states. Immersive Gamebox just opened its first franchise venue in Berlin which was closely followed by two new locations in the UAE, a region that is fast becoming a hotspot in the entertainment space.
“We also recently signed $90M worth of franchise deals across Germany, Ireland and the UAE to support our extensive growth plans and will continue to build a blended business model,” explains Will Dean, CEO & Co-Founder of Immersive Gamebox. “Our goal is to reach 100 locations by 2024 which will be through a combination of owner-operated venues and strategic partnerships around the world. We believe that franchise and concession partners will form a substantial part of our future growth strategy.”
The experience IGB has created is one that has broad appeal and the team’s ability to translate the game content into any language means that they can instantly localise. With this in mind, Immersive Gamebox is currently in discussions with potential partners across the GCC, Europe and Asia and look forward to entering new territories with them in the near future.
To maintain a unique position in the market, Immersive Gamebox stays on top of new innovations and trends within the gaming and technology industries, while its patented technology and gaming content are both developed in-house, giving the team the agility to react and adapt quickly if and when it’s needed. The company’s team of developers has a deep understanding of the gaming industry, what consumers want and the technology they can leverage to deliver best-in-class entertainment.
“We are currently building more components to optimise the player experience, including hand-held ‘wand’ controllers, voice-recognition and AI. However our innovation does not stop with the Gamebox itself, it also includes the development of new venue formats to increase our customer reach and ability to access our experience,” explains Dean.
The concept currently sees a 25% customer return rate within the first month, which is steadily increasing as Immersive Gamebox continues to expand on a gaming library that appeals to all ages. Designed by an in-house game studio, Immersive Gamebox has 15 intuitive games available with new titles being released regularly. The growing library consists of licensed and original IP games, including a recent partnership with Netflix to develop one of its most-watched series, Squid Game, into an immersive experience.
“We will also launch our new Immersive Brainbox initiative this year which will make free educational gaming content available for school groups to play. By continuing to build partnerships and content that bring beloved characters and storylines to life we believe that our customers will keep coming back for more,” Dean highlights.
Social media has grown so much in the past 10 to 15 years and it is now a vitally important avenue for brands to connect with their consumers and that is exactly how the company utilises it. Instagram and TikTok have become fantastic ways for the company to showcase the Gameboxes and give consumers a “behind the scenes” look at any location. The team can post videos of people playing the games, highlight how versatile it really is and give consumers a sneak peek at the games they can experience.
“Ultimately, social media has created a new avenue for reaching our audiences and having genuine interactions with them. We have our consumers and their feedback right at our fingertips. We can implement that in real time and continuously evolve our processes to enhance the in-person user experience,” Dean explains.
The technology offered by Immersive Gamebox is entirely different to any other service available and the innovative use of technology is a key differentiator for them. The idea behind the company was to fill the niche that was empty in today’s group gaming. With current VR experiences – due to the need to deprive your senses of what is actually happening around you to immerse yourself in VR – Dean explains that you lose the opportunity to connect and enjoy the same experience as your friends and family.
With the Gamebox itself becoming an immersive space and by the experiences being set up as team challenges or battles, customers are constantly interacting with their group, creating a shared experience.
As he discusses what comes next for the company, Will says he is excited for the future with the upcoming openings and exciting partnerships they have in the pipeline. They are looking forward to continuing to bring people’s favourite stories to life whilst growing their own IP and game library.
“The biggest challenge we are facing in the year ahead is scaling fast enough to keep pace with our consumers. We are introducing new games and formats that adults and families want. We are meeting that demand for innovation. But our biggest challenge will be opening new locations to ensure that everyone who wants to experience Immersive Gamebox has the opportunity to.”