Here are 5 main trends I see happening right now within outdoor companies.
1. Game mechanics geared more towards cooperation
Traditional scavenger hunts and outdoor games are mainly about competing between teams. While the majority of the games created within outdoor industry are still competition it is very clearly visible that games that foster cooperation and communication are becoming mainstream. It is also logical as in many occasions “the game” is also a part of the team building event. While the dream of cooperation games is as old as games themselves, it was only recently when really meaningful games fostering communication was widely created.
2. Game customizations are becoming common
Majority of the games delivered by outdoor companies today have some kind of a client customization element. Be it location, length or content. Most strikingly custom content developed for the client or by the client itself and adding that seamlessly into game is becoming the sales argument for an outdoor provider. This is the case where a need has been there for a long time, but it has been hard to achieve properly with traditional methods.
3. The coolness comes from combining tech with offline methods.
Five years ago we clearly saw the trend from outdoor providers of adding new services to their portfolios by implementing “a smart device” or “tablet” games. So it was like a traditional scavenger hunt versus a new cool tablet hunt. Now there is a very clear trend that the game concept is what matters. The best games use the tech to provide functionality what the game concept means, but the concept is much more than just rules on the smart device. It is offline equipment, instructors and all other secret ingredients mixed together. With many newest game concepts we can see that the platform is an integral part of the game, but not the main ingredient that makes the game unique.
4. Tech is cheaper and more accessible than traditional methods
When tablet games started they were clearly more upmarket than traditional methods of running scavenger hunts. Today, for many providers there is no price difference. However, usually if a client needs a game urgently or needs a strong customization for a game or needs a game in location where the company usually does not operate then an outdoor provider is more prone offering games built on smart platforms. It is just that editing those games and carrying them out is easier and less instructor intensive than traditional methods.
5. Building physical stuff versus programming
It is becoming easier to program stuff in Virtual Reality than it is to build the same stuff physically. To make the point, there is a program called “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” It is a game to disarm a bomb. An outdoor company might choose to build a bomb and run the disarming activity with this (as many do), or to invest into Virtual Reality, buy the licence for the game and run the same activity much easier virtually.
All this is just from the platform providers perspective. Let us know what you think of things to come.