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The Future Is Now... Gaming, Part III

headsup! the future is now.

The pandemic continues to remain stubbornly with us. Remaining optimistic for the future - there are some positive signs.

Prior to the start of the pandemic we talked regularly about multiple generation having one thing in common ... choosing experience over goods. For many that was a passion for travel. It’s not news that the travel industry has been one of many market sectors that has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Hospitality has shown it’s resilience in the efforts to pivot offering services to consumers in ways they never imagined. Airbnb is a perfect example of this -with it’s online experience offering.

Hospitality has continued to innovate and what’s really fascinating is that this innovation has led to a connection to gaming. In my last post I shared how gaming is working it’s way into our daily lives in unexpected ways - through wellness opportunities making gaming more mainstream than ever before.

During 2018, esports hotels opened at a rate of about 50 per month in China”- Rebbeca Ren PingWest, April 2019

“During 2020 in China, esport hotel occupancy was around 28% higher than the industry average” - DOMATTERS 2020

What makes a hotel a gaming hotel? Rooms typically are outfitted with gaming PCs and appropriate gaming chairs. Rooms are often outfitted with bunk beds setting up for groups of friends to share the same room. Common areas you will find working cafes similar to most hotels but these allow gamers to set up and enter tournaments during the day and sleep upstairs.

Hotels are thoughtfully designed to appeal to a wide range of gamers. Some might be seen as expected - low lit with neon and very contemporary. Yibo hotels capture this aesthetic. While Zinyun Hotel takes a different approach with brightly colored rooms. Hoteliers are looking for ways to amplify the gaming lifestyle and build community hubs through their experiential spaces. Both include an essential - the well stocked mini bar

Ranging from Boutique size hotels to an esports lifestyle destination in Osaka, Japan. the nine-story hotel eZone Denno Kukan features 3 floors of gaming zones, a live gaming arena, social spaces and a community hub topped off with futuristic guestrooms with elite gaming computers.

The numbers around gaming, are large and growing quickly and not just in Asia.

“Globally, the gaming industry is worth almost $180bn and boasts over two billion participants”-Newzoo, 2020

In 2016 Amsterdam’s The Arcade introduced Europe to gaming lifestyle hospitality. It boast a blend of post-industrial decor with grown-up gaming culture. The hotel features both contemporary and retro gaming consoles, a comic book library and monochromatic interior.

In 2020, Atari – the iconic games console brand – announced the launch of its gaming-themed hotel chain, which will debut in Las Vegas in 2022.

It’s not much of a leap to see how gaming tourism could quickly add a boost to local communities and the post-pandemic travel industry. Paris 2019 hosted a world championships for League of Legends, a muti player fantasy battle game. There is a significant pull for a live in-person viewing of these events worldwide and with it gaming tourism.

League of Legends has shown this level of pull in a wide variety of locations -

Rotterdam’s 2019 championship qualifier contributed €2.6m ($3.3m) to the local economy, with over 87% of attendees coming from outside the city. -Riot Games, 2019

North Carolina, saw 70% of the 2,600 daily attendees come from out of state or from abroad.- Big Block, 2019

Cities can now apply to host championship events 2 years in advance through Riot Games the events’ organizer.

The bond between the gaming/esports industry and the travel industry appears to be looking toward what’s next. It’s inspiring to see how consumer behaviors and lifestyle shifts that were gaining traction prior to the pandemic, and enhanced by the constraints of the past year are leading to new thinking and innovation in the travel industry. A few years ago Studio H2G was engaged with a start-up to develop a series of gaming lounges that were targeting airports as a location. As I was exploring the connection between gaming/esports and travel it occurred to me how powerful this idea is and that could have new opportunities in a post-pandemic world!

Looking forward to more discovery + innovation!

Julie Dugas

One of the Heads

Studio | H2G

I’m one of the heads at Studio | H2G - I’m not a writer (which you may have picked up on quickly!) I am passionate about the business of retail, consumer behavior, trends and conversations around that thinking.

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