There are all kinds of trends shaping the future of entertainment, and as a result we’re always looking ahead to what’s next. Typically - and rightfully - this tends to mean a lot of focus on what’s going to change about home entertainment. We’ll stream more content, play more mobile games, explore virtual reality from our couches, etc. However, if you have an eye for cultural shifts in entertainment, you may have also noticed a sort of subtle rebellion occurring, at least in urban and suburban areas. Public, group entertainment is not going down without a fight - which leads us to a few surprising ways we may be entertaining ourselves in the next five years.
1. Classic Movie Nights:
Cinemas have really put up an admirable fight in the face of streaming. Various Moviepass-like options, a growing focus on physical comfort, and extended food and drink menus are adding something to the theater experience that keeps people going despite their innumerable home streaming options. What we’re also starting to see however is theater companies that play to nostalgia. Some of them schedule regular events with classic movies, or even relatively recent popular ones; some even have VHS rentals on-site, simply to play up a vintage theme! These theaters appear to be thriving, as unlikely as it may seem, so we should potentially expect more cinemas offering classic movie nights and themed events in the coming years.
2. More Elaborate Escape Rooms:
Escape rooms have been all the rage for a few years now, and don’t show any signs of slowing down. If anything, more and more cities are opening escape rooms. But in addition to more openings, it seems likely that existing companies will simply keep making more elaborate scenes and setups to keep things fresh. Atlanta already opened an outdoor escape room attraction, and from this point on nothing would shock us. There could be whole escape houses, escape cabins, multi-story chains of escape rooms, and all kinds of themes and creative setups.
3. Robot Casinos:
This is something no one’s really talking about, particularly as the very idea of in-person casinos seems to be losing ground to the internet. But robot croupiers are in the works, and they’re not being built just for fun. Adding a technical aspect to the casino experience will theoretically get a lot of people interested who might not otherwise have ventured out to casinos, and could spark either a casino comeback or the beginning of a new type of boutique, arcade-like casino in the near future.
4. Virtual Reality Arcades:
Right now virtual reality is primarily thought of as an at-home consumer technology - or even as one that will continue to adapt over the next year or two until it’s ready for widespread purchasing. But some people seem to have other ideas. More and more, people are talking about opening up “VRcades,” mimicking the gaming arcades of old, but by way of providing virtual reality entertainment. The point isn’t simply to bring back arcades at random, but rather to introduce the highest quality VR through expensive equipment people might not buy, some of which can even facilitate physical movement to go with what’s happening in the goggles. It’s not a stretch to say that these kinds of VRcades could soon be appearing in malls and shopping centers the same way older arcades used to.
5. Simulated Combat:
Simulated combat is nothing new when you think about the fact that paintball and laser tag have been around for many years by now. However, just as people become more interested and better versed in combat through innumerable popular shooter games, activities like paintball and particularly laser tag are getting more sophisticated. You can now find companies providing whole arsenals of different kinds of simulated weapons, offering people what feels like a more realistic experience. Now, it’s possible that VR and specifically VRcades can more or less halt this trend in its tracks by providing the most realistic possible shooter simulator - but don’t be too surprised if more advanced versions of laser tag and paintball make a comeback.