THE WORLD-CHANGING POWER OF IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT & NARRATIVE REALITIES (SPONSORED BY AMDOCS)
Saturday, June 2, 10:00 am
As a born entertainer, Brent Bushnell, CEO and Co-Founder of the immersive entertainment company Two Bit Circus, thoroughly captivated his audience during his SHAPE session. He’s a trained clown as well as a self-described tech nerd. And, he’s the first to say that his background helped fuel his passion for immersive entertainment. His company, Two Bit Circus, designs immersive, interactive experiences limited only by real life and imagination. In the last few years, the company has designed a traveling escape room and scavenger hunt-video game hybrids, each more entertaining than the last.
“Think about the popularity of escape rooms,” Bushnell said of the interactive entertainment trend, in which about 10 people are put into a closed room and have to figure out how to get out. “In 2013, there were zero escape rooms in Los Angeles, and now there are more than a hundred. So, this kind of entertainment is not going to go away.”
BEING IN YOUR OWN LIFE—AND ADDING EVEN MORE ENTERTAINING LIVES
Influencing the growth of immersive/experiential entertainment, Bushnell said, are three key factors:
- Consumers want experiences over things: Younger people “in particular don’t want to buy the new Maserati. They would rather experience what it feels like to drive one” and then move on to another experience.
- Retail—especially the shopping mall—is changing: But, that doesn’t mean the mall is dying. Instead, it is changing from mostly retail to mostly experiential, i.e., bars, restaurants, Soul Cycle, entertainment, work, and learning. “You still have to physically be there to do all these things.” Even Apple stores are adding features like co-working spaces.
- The future of entertainment is interactive: Immersive theater like Sleep No More in New York drops you into any kind of narrative you choose.
Highlights of his presentation included:
- Shots of a description of the “dunk tank” his company invented: It uses fire instead of water.
- A description of the wonders of layering onto reality: “The most amazing thing out there is real life—high def and optics that can really kill you!” he said to big laughs from the audience.
- His clear presentation of the values that immersive technology can add beyond just entertainment: “I can lead my own life, but other lives I can help create—to be a better athlete, to be a better husband, and to learn new things.”