In February 2012, SCARP held the first escape game,“Escape from the Werewolf Village” in collaboration with a creative team from Taiwan called [comma , comma] production in Taipei. It was mainly a game of puzzle-solving rather than actual room escaping. Same year later in August, local studio, RMT Games presented “Happily Ever After”, a real-life game themed role-playing and puzzle-solving. At the end of 2012, SCARP presented “The Escape From The Room of Mistery”, a room escape game that has only 6.7% of escape rate. In the meantime, RMT brought a series of room escape games “Remedy”,“Murder”,“Time Track” to the market, successfully combined escape game and café and started a trend of room escape game in Taiwan.
HOW MANY COMPANIES ARE THERE IN THE INDUSTRY? HOW IS THE COMPETITION GOING?
There are over 60 room escape companies now in Taiwan, and most are located in Taipei. Details are listed below:
|Quantity||Open for over three years||Has more than three themes|
Taiwan has a small population. It’s relatively a small market in Asia. It is an oligopoly market where the market tycoons tend to remain their advantageous status quo and make it harsh for new market entrants. This is the main reason why market are controlled in the hands of a few big teams; with over three years of business and a stable income which can average earn 600 thousand NTD per month. Small firms enter and leave the market frequently. Those with a smaller scale have a bigger flow rate, most teams will go out of phase within a year or two.
Most consumers are between the ages of 20 – 35, and are mostly students, office workers or families. For searching reviews of games, there’s lack of well-organized discussion platform in Taiwan. Players will ask friends or look for blogger’s article for advice most of the time, and there are also LINE and Facebook group chat to join. As for ticket booking, most room escape companies sell tickets on Niceday, others might have their own ticket-booking system or sell tickets on a third-party platform(KKtix, Accupass etc.).
THREE INTERESTING FACTS
Small Scale of Capital
As the above chart presents, most room escape companies in Taiwan have only one or two themes to choose, this is due to the fact that most companies are in small-scale (below 1 million NTD of capital). Even the brand who owns chain stores have only invested about 4 million NTD and run two to three stores. These chain stores usually brag about their lower price, they usually have easier games than other stores, and ticket prices are almost 50% cheaper. But in year 2016, one of the room escape chain store teams closed two stores in the same period. So, in a small market such as Taiwan, chain stores might not be able to survive.
The thriving of different types of real-life game
All types of games are popular in Taiwan, besides room escape games there are also many different real-life games being brought to the market, such as the zombie game held in water theme park called “Zombie Land”, or an outdoor puzzle game on a cruise for hundreds called “King of Pirates”. These are all games that once led an upsurge in Taiwan; also, there are games such as “Riddle City” that uses apps to provide a different gaming sensation.
The application of VR and AR in games
In 2015, Taiwan had the first AR room escape game called “Eleanor of Ayer”, and was even awarded the best AR experience by Vision Summit 2016 VR/AR. In 2016, a room escape game that used both AR and VR called “CONE” showed up, it was a breakthrough in the industry. Both games combined the usage of AR and VR along with room escape games and puzzle solving, and not only just a room escape experience in VR equipment.
1. 台灣密室編年史 (The chronicles of room escape games in Taiwan)
2. 台灣實境遊戲業商業模式初探– 孟晉瑭-2015.6
(An Exploratory Research on Business Models of Taiwan Reality Games -Meng, Chin-Tang)
3. 實境解謎工作室主題一覽表by阿松 -2016.11.25
(Escape Game Theme in Taiwan list by A-Song)
4. 看雜誌 實境密室逃脫 上班族紓壓新寵-2013.10.05
(Look Magazine: real-life room escape games, the new entertainment for office workers.)
5. 台灣團隊作品《昨日的艾莉若》奪 Vision VR/AR Summit 2016 最佳擴增實境體驗獎項
(“Eleanor of Ayer”, a Taiwan original AR room escape won the best AR experience award by Vision VR/AR Summit 2016)