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Legoland will launch augmented reality activities to entice tourists

Merlin Entertainments has reached a licensing agreement with Immersive Gamebox.


In an effort to draw more tourists, Merlin Entertainments, the company that owns Legoland, is introducing augmented reality activities based on the TV series Paw Patrol and Squid Game at several of its locations. As part of a multimillion-pound licensing agreement, the immersive gaming rooms operated by Immersive Gamebox will first be implemented at two of Merlin’s locations in Australia and Germany before the current year ends. As early as next year, they will likely be extended to more of the 140 locations throughout the world that the theme park operator operates.

Up to six users enter a games room while wearing motion-tracking sensor-equipped visors, where they may pick from a range of games employing projection mapping, touch displays, and surround sound technologies. Each facility will include eight gaming rooms. The first two locations are a division of Merlin’s Midway Attractions, which is also a coordinator for the Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Along with games for teens and young adults like Squid Game and Psychedelic Mansion, Immersive, which runs 25 sites mostly in Europe and the US, provides themed games based on children’s TV series like Shaun the Sheep and Paw Patrol. The licensing deal was pursued when Merlin’s chief executive, Scott O’Neil, visited an Immersive location in New York. He said that there is a way to remove the headphones during game parties in the dark. They will also be able to venture out and stay active, even on a social level. O’Neil also said that there will be more instances of similar offerings in the Merlin’s estate. 

A handful of the attractions and theme park rides that Merlin, which recorded £136 million in pre-tax earnings last year, recently added to its roster of amusement parks include the first standalone Peppa Pig theme park, which launched last year, and thrill rides like the World of Jumanji at the UK’s Chessington resort.

Will Dean, the developer of Immersive, said that the company’s IP partnerships, which included contracts with Netflix, Sony, and Paramount, were extremely complimentary to what Merlin was seeking to achieve. He said that the goal is to develop to a few hundred locations all at once during the years to come. However, George Jijiashvili, a technology researcher at Omdia, voiced his doubt about the likelihood of an enormous untapped industry in AR gaming.

Jijiashvili said that immersive was an evolution of already-existing arcade games. He thinks that the initiative is for those with real world friends, who also established the obstacle course company Tough Mudder. The main issue with virtual reality is that people do not really have their friends around them. According to Dean, all immersive games encourage cooperation among players as opposed to competitive play. By next year’s end, Immersive hopes to have expanded to over 200 locations globally. The company is expected to break even this year thanks to anticipated sales of about £25 million. By 2023 end, according to Dean, it will have serviced over 1 million clients, the bulk of whom are families and business organisations.

Dean anticipated that Merlin may eventually purchase his business. According to him, Merlin is looking to roll up a whole set of businesses. 

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