Escape Experience Launches “Live Remote Avatar” Virtual Escape Room Concept Amid Coronavirus COVID-19 Mandated Closing
Virtual Escape Room Games – “We’ll be your hands and feet. You bring your team online, the brains to use the tools we give you, and the will to win!”
Still trapped in your home social distancing from COVID-19? Now you can play a Live Virtual Escape Room Game together with anyone from anywhere in the world inside one of Tennessee’s top-rated escape room game companies, Escape Experience; a Tennessee-based small business with brick and mortar stores located in the Downtown tourist districts of Chattanooga and Nashville – USA.
“We’re letting visitors in virtually now via a live online video connection from inside our escape rooms, and the customer response has been so amazing,” said Escape Experience owner Michael Rowland. Like so many small businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic, three weeks ago Escape Experience was forced to close its doors to the general public as part of local and state government efforts to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in Tennessee.
Just two weeks after a mandate to close its physical doors, the Escape Experience reopened its doors virtually for the very first time with a relaunch concept called a “Live Virtual Escape Room Game” with a “Remote Avatar” inside. Utilizing tools like interactive 360-degree virtual tours (similar to those used in the real estate industry), online video conferencing, and a live onsite in-room remote avatar outfitted with a custom camera-mounted-vest for streaming video, a headset for communicating with participants, and a laser image scanner for scanning and sending close-up images of various items in the rooms, people sheltering apart can now connect and play Escape Experience’s top-rated escape room games remotely, together!
The remote avatars act as live, in-room operatives that participants can command to do various tasks (i.e. “Try this code on that lock.” “Show me what’s under that table.” “Open that drawer.” “Scan that and send it to me.”) Watching from the avatar’s point-of-view screen is similar to a first-person shooter game – you see what they see. The forward-facing camera is mounted to a stabilizer gimbal so the image is smooth and clear.
“The order to close our business ended all the revenue from our normal sources. I knew we had to start getting creative, and fast, or risk laying off everyone,” said Rowland. As of today, the entertainment company has already put over half its staff back to work and plans to continue the expansion of the virtual concept; hopefully bringing everyone back to work soon. Each one-hour experience requires approximately two employees to effectively run it, and one of those employees can do their job from home. That leaves just one or two staff in our building at any given time, which greatly limits the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.
Testing for the virtual concept was done two weeks ago and included a group of three brothers that experienced the virtual escape room – Vaccine: Search for the Cure game remotely from three completely different parts of the world (Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Boston, Massachusetts; and Sapporo, Japan). One of the brothers, Nathan Akers, from Murfreesboro, said, “Living so far apart from each other, it’s very rare that we all get to do fun things like this together, and this was something that we really enjoyed. It almost felt like we were actually there in the room working together. We had a blast!”
The company has been selling and hosting the online virtual experiences for the past week, and according to staff, the feedback has been incredible. “It’s so cool watching all these people from many different places around the globe interact together online in our space,” said Daniel Farris, General Manager. Teams have included players from all over – Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Denmark, Virginia, New York, South Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, California, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and more. “We have even received a request from someone in Australia asking if we’d be willing to host an extremely early experience for them, and a few people from the west coast have asked us to open later booking options for them to accommodate the time zone differences – which we have done,” said Farris.
The company launched its first online virtual option – Vaccine: Search for the Cure – this past Thursday, on April 2nd. This weekend the firm will introduce the online community to its largest and most popular experience, The Bunker. Plans to add the rest of the company’s titles are in the works.
“I can’t wait to get all of our experiences online,” said Rowland. “It’s exciting to be able to share our creative work with such a large audience, and the online community has been very supportive so far. We can’t thank them enough.” The company doesn’t expect the virtual experience to go away either.
“This has opened our eyes to new possibilities,” said Rowland. “Now we can offer virtual corporate team-building to businesses anywhere, but especially right now with so many office employees working from home. We can help them connect and work together in a fun, relaxed, virtual environment that anyone can participate in. I think even when the mandated business closures end, we will continue to offer the online virtual escape room option. For now, we’re just excited to be back at work making fun memories together while we’re all sheltering safely apart!”
Currently, Escape Experience is only offering one version of its “Remote Avatar” Virtual Experiences, to the public; an adaptation of one of its classics called Vaccine: Search For the Cure. “If there is a demand for it, we will quickly add our other escape room games to the list of available online experiences. We’re even thinking that this could be a really fun way to add virtual team building games to our list of services.
Minimum group sizes as small a two (2) can play a virtual experience together for as little as $50, plus tax. The cost for up to eight (8) to play together starts at $200 before tax. Private and large group reservations are available.
Make fun memories together while sheltering apart at Escape Experience – online!