The History of the Escape Room Business

4 Jul

The History of the Escape Room Business

Escape rooms are quickly becoming one of the biggest activity trends in the country. If you have been to one, chances are you want to go to another. If you have never been to one, you need to set a date to go. These interactive adventure games are taking the world by storm. When participating in an escape room, you are given a story line and locked in a room, with an hour to escape. There are clues and puzzles hidden around the room, each one leading you to another. The trick is deciphering what is a clue and what is not in time to escape and beat the clock.
It seems like these escape room businesses began popping up out of nowhere, but the idea has been around for years.

Where Did the Escape Room Business Come From?

Long before escape room businesses began popping up, there were escape the room video games and computer games. These games were simple and challenging and people liked them. Your virtual person was in a room where they had to find a way out. There were no story lines to add adventure, just items in a room that would help you find your way out.
The most well-known of these games was Crimson Room, which was released in 2004. In the room there were 23 steps that you had to take before finding the tool to help you escape the room. However, the love of this type of adventure has been around forever. This is where the popularity of treasure hunts and live role play games like Dungeons and Dragons stems from.
In 2007 a man by the name of Takao Kato watched someone playing one of these online games and started to think that people might like to play it for real. He got to work and created the first escape room business. As opposed to the permanent locations of today, these first locations were temporary. Out of the 150 people that attended the first escape room, only 6 made it out.

Growth of the Escape Room Business

Kato continued to hold large, but temporary escape rooms. But, it didn’t take long for the popularity of this new adventure game to kick in. Entrepreneurs around the world saw the opportunity to expand and profit from the escape room business. They began to spread into Europe and surrounding countries. With the growth of the escape room business the rooms and story lines continued to grow and develop. They went from simply finding a way out of a locked room to exciting adventures that allow you to solve a crime or save the world from a fast spreading virus.
It wasn’t until 2012 that the first escape room made it into America. Kato’s company SCRAP opened it in Los Angeles. Since then the market for escape rooms has exploded in the U.S. According to a 2016 report, there are over well over 1,000 escape rooms around the country. The growth started with escape rooms in Los Angeles and is quickly making its way across the country.

The Future of Escape Rooms

Since the industry is still newer it is hard to predict what the future is for escape room businesses. However, the more people go to escape rooms the more they like them. This poses a challenge as escape room businesses need to constantly dream up and create new and exciting story lines and rooms for people to try. It looks like the market will continue to grow and expand, as well as build upon itself. Some escape rooms are starting to add “actors” into the rooms to add to the mystery and skill required to escape.
If you are ready to for an exciting challenge, gather your friends and come out to The Quest Factory. We have created several escape rooms for you to test your skills on, and there are new rooms currently in the works. Check out our testimonials to see how much fun our guests have had so far, then schedule your time online today or call 213-805-6179 today!