The trend of gamification or interactivity is making significant waves in the attractions industry’s technological landscape. Theme parks are progressively integrating innovative technologies like augmented reality (AR) to enhance their offerings with an additional layer of engagement.
A prime example of this movement is Super Nintendo World, which was inaugurated at Universal Studios Japan in 2021. This captivating franchise is set to extend its reach to Florida as part of the Epic Universe at Universal Orlando Resort. Moreover, plans are underway for its introduction at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Singapore.
Super Nintendo World distinguishes itself with a multitude of attractions and experiences infused with gamification. Cutting-edge technology seamlessly melds the tangible world with the virtual realm of video games. Patrons revel in interactive escapades facilitated by wearable wristbands named Power Up Bands. These wristbands can be synchronized with smartphones through the Universal Studios Japan app.
Visitors are given the opportunity to physically tap the land’s Question Blocks, effectively collecting virtual coins that imbue a sensation of competing for high scores in video games. Furthermore, attendees can amass digital keys, unlocking various gameplay prospects in the form of ‘Key Challenges.’ These challenges encompass engaging ‘Boss Battles’ pitting participants against adversary characters.
Technology-driven sports experiences
The attractions industry is also witnessing a burgeoning trend in technology-driven sports experiences, catering to the growing appetite for competitive socializing. Pioneering brands such as Puttshack and Topgolf are at the forefront of this movement. As conventional golf courses decline in popularity, indoor venues gain momentum.
Topgolf, an innovator in technology-enhanced golf experiences, boasts a global footprint of over 80 locations spanning the US, UK, UAE, Australia, Germany, and Thailand. The brand’s first Scottish establishment opened in 2022. Topgolf venues offer interactive games, climate-controlled hitting bays, and food and beverage services.
Puttshack, an F&B infused mini-golf experience powered by technology, is expanding its presence across the US. Conceived by the creators of Topgolf, Steve Jolliffe, and Dave Jolliffe, these venues integrate mini-golf courses equipped with patented Trackaball technology, resulting in immersive social encounters.
In 2023, patrons are seeking seamless personalization from the moment they step into an attraction. To cater to this demand, operators are harnessing technology to their advantage. Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney, recently divulged that the company is developing a means of customizing the theme park experience based on users’ Disney+ viewing habits, and vice versa. In an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live event, he explained, “It’s about merging the physical and digital aspects of your Disney lifestyle.”
Chapek elaborated, “If you’re using Disney+, and you give us permission to do so, we should be cognizant of your experiences and preferences from your previous park visits. Similarly, when you’re at the park, we should be aware of your Disney+ viewing habits.”
Beyond King Tut, a captivating traveling exhibition spanning North America, vividly resurrects the archives of the National Geographic Society, propelling visitors into an immersive journey through ancient Egypt. This encounter allows them to cross paths with revered Egyptian deities like Ra and Anubis, while also descending into the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun.
Given the strides technology has taken to enhance visitor experience, when it comes to gamification, competitive socializing, personalization and immersion. It would be safe to say that what we are witnessing is just the beginning of the digital revolution of the attractions industry. Get onto the train, through Pigeon-Attractions, a tailor-made digital solution made for the attractions industry.