When virtual world dominates realism

Behind the mantra of subverting reality.

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In a relatively short span of time, the immersive entertainment concept has taken much of the attractions world by storm. A relatively new phenomenon, it has rapidly shifted into the mainstream, covering everything from immersive art installations and virtual reality to escape rooms and fully-themed immersive parks.

The word ‘’immersive’’ has become the buzzword to expound every single thing related to wildly imaginative live experiences and high-tech mediums. While the word’s effectiveness in marketing has been dwindling from broad-reaching overuse, its importance as a principle of design both within and outside of the entertainment industry cannot be downplayed.

Though since immersive works have such a strong power to influence audiences on a personal and deep level, even categorizing many of the experiences wholly as “entertainment” is often inadequate, as some of the most entertaining works also have the power to leave audiences immensely affected. What connects all of these experiences is the illusionary environment that surrounds and envelopes their audiences, allowing them to become an essential part of the overall entertainment.

Many attractions have jumped into the bandwagon of immersive industry – from Disney opening up an immersive and film-evoking Star Wars theme park – where visitors can finally step into that world, be able to feel it up-close and personal, play in it and even taste its food, to Meow Wolf’s aggressive expansion across the United States behind the mantra of subverting reality. Regardless of whether these experiences have been designed for deep emotional connection, heady intellectual messages, or pure fun, immersive experiences have shown to be powerful and impactful in remarkable ways – while remaining wildly entertaining.

This phenomenon has implications for the hospitality industry as guest experiences continue to drive demand and savvy consumers expect more for their travel and leisure bank notes. The hotel industry is embracing these technologies and incorporating them into guest experiences that vary from VR travel experiences and hotel tours, to interactive hotel rooms and customized AR games – doing so may help hotels diversify their offerings and stand out among their competitors.

The convergence of artforms, experiential entertainment, marketing, education, socially conscious work, and mass media is rapidly approaching a tipping point in 2019 and indicates that the hype will probably stay for many years to come.