Big Board Alerts

October 9, 2023
Merlin goes immersive: Gamebox deal signals expansion beyond theme parks

Merlin Entertainments, the world’s second-largest location-based entertainment company, has announced a new partnership with immersive gaming company Immersive Gamebox.

According to an Oct. 6 Blooloop report, the multi-year, multi-million dollar deal will launch with new Gamebox sites opening in Germany and Australia in 2023. Additional locations are planned across Merlin’s global portfolio, including in the UK, US, and Asia Pacific over the next five years.

Immersive Gamebox uses projection mapping, motion tracking, and touch screens to create interactive group gaming experiences based on popular entertainment IPs. Current games are themed around properties like Squid Game, Angry Birds, and PAW Patrol.

In an interview with industry publication Blooloop, Merlin CEO Scott O’Neil said the partnership will allow Merlin to continue growing its “city center cluster” strategy by adding Gamebox locations near existing Merlin attractions to create family entertainment hubs. O’Neil first discovered Immersive Gamebox during a visit to New York City when he asked Merlin’s head of real estate, Chris Bird, for recommendations on new concepts.

“I played three games and I looked at Chris. I’m like, Do we know the CEO?” O’Neil told Blooloop. “The product is extraordinary. And the tailwinds of what we and the team have built is exactly the way the world is going.”

Immersive Gamebox CEO Will Dean said the partnership will help bring the company’s games “to more people than ever before.” Gamebox currently has 27 locations globally. Dean highlighted the brand’s repeat visitation rate of 31%, driven by the interactive, social nature of the games.

O’Neil sees strong opportunities for Gamebox to leverage Merlin’s extensive entertainment IP portfolio from brands like LEGO and DreamWorks. He also noted Gamebox’s cross-cultural appeal from games like Squid Game, believing it can drive growth across Merlin’s parks in 24 countries.

“[It’s] ubiquitous content. They operate in multiple languages. The brands cut across all cultural barriers,” said O’Neil.

The partnership represents Merlin diversifying into new location-based entertainment concepts beyond its core theme park and attractions business. Immersive Gamebox offers a complementary business model aligned with Merlin’s goal of creating shared, interactive experiences for families and friends.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Lucie Liz; Pexels; Thank you!

The post Merlin goes immersive: Gamebox deal signals expansion beyond theme parks appeared first on ReadWrite.


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