The ESC Game Theater is an interesting project. Part video game, part live-action show, the concept joins together the experience of an arcade and a rock concert, and brings it to the middle of a mall.
The ESC Game Theater is basically a movie theater-sized screen, with up to 30 people playing a video game simultaneously. “We charge about $5 for 20-30 minutes of play. You walk in, and we hand you a custom controllers, which are basically modified touch screen devices,” CEO Todd Swidler told iDigitalTimes. “You’ll be bathed in light by about 70 different light fixtures that all react to the game. You’ll find yourself in an environment with 7.2 surround sound. In front of you will be a giant movie screen, about 30 by 10 foot HD screen that has two bright projectors on it.”
From here, people all join in to play games. Typically, these games are team-based, with one half of the room on one side and the other half looking to take them on. For more on the games, be sure to read our hands-on with three of the different offerings.
Only one location is currently up and running for the ESC Game Theater in Paramus, NJ, but iDigi had the opportunity to go to ESC Headquarters to get a look behind the scenes. “This is the first one we have, it’s just outside of New York City,” Swidler said. “The goal and the plan is to roll them out to dozens of locations fairly soon so that we can play both inside the individual theaters but also have the theaters play against each other.”
During one play session, players will typically be able to try their hands at three different games. Those games each have two or three rounds, so there’s plenty of game time. “There are about a dozen games to play,” said Swidler. “ESC developed 10, and Warner Brothers has made two.”
By working with other developers, ESC hopes to bring in popular games that gamers already know as well as work with fan-favorite licenses. “We’ve had a lot of interesting discussions already with IP holders who want to bring their games to the theater,” Swidler said. “We’ve also explored building some versions of mobile games that would port over to the theater.”
These are all still discussions, and Swidler didn’t have any major news to share on this just yet. “The games we have today are really designed to showcase that 30-person environment and also work with our own lighting systems,” he said.
An ultimate goal for the ESC Game Theaters is to have national tournaments based on locations. The high scores for each Theater session will be logged, and competitions can be started over which location can get the highest scores. Eventually, this will result in players earning prizes for competing.
No plans have been announced regarding new ESC Game Theater locations, but Swidler did say to expect to hear some news relatively soon. Be sure to follow ESC Games on Twitter and Facebook for more information.
So what do you think? Are you interested in trying out the ESC Game Theater? Where do you hope a theater opens up soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.