egoland's parent company, Merlin Entertainments, is stepping into the augmented reality gaming arena with a twist, incorporating popular TV shows like Paw Patrol and Squid Game into interactive gaming rooms at selected venues. These AR game rooms, developed in collaboration with AR company Immersive Gamebox, will debut at two Merlin sites in Germany and Australia by year-end, with plans to expand to their global network of 140 theme parks next year. In these rooms, up to six players don motion-tracking visors to immerse themselves in games utilising projection mapping, touch screens, and surround sound. Scott O'Neil, Merlin's CEO, expressed his excitement about this novel approach, aiming to encourage social interaction rather than isolating players with headphones in dark rooms.
Despite some skepticism from analysts about the potential of AR gaming, Merlin aims to leverage its intellectual property deals and movie studio partnerships to create new attractions and enhance its existing portfolio. Immersive Gamebox, with partnerships with Netflix, Sony, and Paramount, foresees significant growth alongside Merlin. While critics argue that AR gaming might not be a "huge untapped market," Immersive's emphasis on collaborative gaming experiences could set it apart.