The video game market has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The improvements in graphics and technology have made the in-home gaming experience more fun. And enhancements such as the Kinect and Wii have made gaming more interactive. But there are still limitations to creating a genuine experience that feels real. So where can people go to get an interactive gaming experience? Some have turned to paintball, but that can be painful. Plus the equipment is expensive, which makes the barrier to entry for new players fairly high. More recently, consumers have discovered a different option: tactical laser tag.
Tactical laser tag is an industry that's only a decade old. It's a marriage between paintball and traditional indoor backlight laser tag, combining the strategy of the former with the painless play of the latter. Unlike traditional blacklight laser tag, tactical is not focused on individual scores. Rather, the games are all based on a team objective. This promotes more teamwork and strategy, similar to what you'd expect from an online cooperative video game. It creates a better version of objective-based first person shooter games that are so popular in the market.
Derek Petit has a unique perspective on tactical laser tag. He's both an equipment manufacturer, as well as an operator. He owns a manufacturing company and 3 different operational businesses. According to Derek, tactical laser tag "Focuses on the elements of communication, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, and physical fitness. Those are the 5 core components."
Game objectives and variables are constantly changed for different game types, but these 5 components are always present. Game variations also keep each game experience fresh. Tactical laser tag operators can create unlimited options, which coincides with the multitude of missions and game types that exist in online video games.
Competing With In-Home Entertainment
All entertainment operators understand how difficult it can be to get consumers to leave their in-home entertainment and pay for an experience at a facility. Tactical laser tag is becoming a new strategy that operators employ. The majority of operators utilize a mobile or drive and drop business model. This means they travel to a location - such as a house or park - and literally bring the party to the consumer. Other operators have a fixed field similar to paintball where consumers can go and get a true "battlefield" experience.
Even some traditional family entertainment centers are jumping on board. In addition to their brick and mortar facilities, they are offering mobile birthday parties with tactical laser tag. The branded truck or trailer quite literally acts as a marketing vehicle all around town.
Derek Petit sees tactical laser tag as a great option for any entertainment operator that wants to increase revenue. "Tactical laser tag, in any of the models - pound for pound, dollar for dollar - has one of the highest return on investments of any industry that I've experienced."
The industry is still young and operators don't have a lot of competition. But the downside is that there's much less market awareness than with other attractions. Business owners can focus on marketing to reaching new player and bring them back again. "If I have a birthday party with 10 kids, I know that there's going to be 4 kids that are going to book a party within 6 months," comments Derek.
So often, businesses focus on how to combat in-home entertainment like video games. But rather than fight them, why not become them? Entertainment operators are starting to see that tactical laser tag can be an ideal way to provide the video game experience in real life. No pain. No risk. All fun.