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Escape room

Are Escape Rooms Still a Niche Interest?

Escape Rooms have grown in popularity in recent years. Despite the interest, are they still niche? Read on to find out more.
2021.01.26.

Are Escape Rooms Still a Niche Interest?

Defining a ‘niche interest’ is a tough ask. Firstly, it depends on the scope of ‘niche.’ Is it niche because it is outside of the mainstream of popular culture? Is it a niche part of a niche part of culture? You can see the complexity. For instance, music genres follow this level of semantic play: someone can be a fan of vaporwave (an increasingly popular genre), which is a subgenre of electronic music (a very established and hugely popular genre), in general but have a particular affinity for sovietwave which is a subgenre of vaporwave. You could call it niche-ception.

Escape Rooms

Where do Escape Rooms fall into this nicheness?

As of a few years ago, they were very niche because they were only just really getting going. There were few in the world. The interest in this kind of fun is fueled by that yearning for adventure. Plenty of films and TV shows create huge drama and intrigue off of the premise of characters being locked in a room which they desperately need to get out of. Quickly, Escape Rooms gained in popularity and spread from Asia and America to Hungary before rooms were opened in the UK and other major European countries. They appealed to adults looking to have fun with friends and, also, businesses who wanted to develop team building skills and organise days out. Now, the industry is large and expected to continue to grow, especially in North America.

Access to Escape Rooms

If someone believes their interest is niche then they could do one of two things: try to get other people interested in it because they want to see other people enjoy it or protect it because they enjoy having a unique interest which is for them and a group of close friends or competitors. However, the internet generally gives power to the person who shares, rather than the one who keeps secrets. Information and tactics can be shared on forums, in articles, and in videos. The internet unlocks the ability to go from novice to competent in no time at all. For instance, a gamer might be interested in blackjack. They can approach the game with no knowledge at all and then spend time learning about odds and payouts related to online blackjack – Canada, the USA, and other countries all have different laws and tendences so it can be a complex affair – before playing the game for the first time. The same thing applies to Escape Rooms. Tutorials and tips for how best to give yourself a fighting chance can be internalised before playing.

Also, the internet allows people to share their experiences. Social media gives brands the chance to advertise. It is easy for businesses to find major interest.

Adaptations

The rise of Escape Rooms didn’t go unnoticed by the entertainment industry. Executives capitalised on their popularity and the popularity of products like Doctor Who, Prison Break, and Sherlock to create Escape Rooms designed in their image. This gives Escape Rooms a different edge. Die hard fans of the shows and products will then become interested in having a go at the Escape Rooms and it’ll feel like they’re in the fictional world.

Other adaptations followed. Escape Room videogames and board games have been developed. Recently, there have been ones built to play via Zoom with friends and family. Soon, VR escape rooms are likely now that Oculus Rift 2 is seeing strong sales.

All this interest and access to Escape Rooms naturally leads to competition. This isn’t just market competition. It’s national and world championships. In fact, in 2019, Red Bull hosted the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship in Shoreditch, London.

How long Escape Rooms hold their market size is yet to be seen. However, they’re in a strong position to continue posting good performances, and the adaptations explained above give more evidence it is likely to hold public attention. Is it niche? That depends on who you ask.

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