Area 15 passes 1-year mark: an evolving experiential journey

Area 15 passes 1 year: an evolving experiential journey| Commentary

While much has been written about the experiential journey, one has to experience it first hand to understand its significance.

Area 15, the world’s first purpose-built immersive entertainment district in Las Vegas, featuring live events, attractions, interactive art installations, extraordinary design elements and hospitality, has seen and won some 2 million visitors in its first year of existence several audience awards for its mix of entertainment and art installation.

While much has been written about the experiential journey, one has to experience it first hand to understand its significance.

On arrival and drop off at the site, guests pass through an area of ​​sculptures, check in and then through the nondescript main door, pass through an illuminated entrance and are then greeted by a giant projection-mapped skull!

Once inside, the warehouse space feels like a “mall” – with live entertainment, hospitality, exhibitions and even shops. This is a strongly themed area with blacklight artwork and unique decoration that continues the vibe of the whole concept.

A VR, AR extravaganza

Immersive entertainment on display is split across VR and AR applications. One of the oldest VR installations in Area 15 is Somniacs’ “Birdly” flying VR platform. Two units of the immersive flight system were installed in their own housings in the main hall – accompanied by a CleanBox hygiene system.

The other VR experiences in space include the installation of Backlight Studios’ first “Oz Experience”. The company’s free-roam VR platform for PC backpacks is housed in a unique location.

Another VR retail offering was “Virtuals VR,” which offers more VR free-roam (from TrueVRsystems) and VR arcade experiences.

At the time of visit, there was also a pop-up VR installation on the mezzanine deck using Meta Quest2 VR headsets providing a temporary attraction, “Van Gogh VR”.

As for AR, there was the “BrainStorm” installation for reading minds. Along with the main added attraction, “Particle Quest” – using AR viewers, the guests take part in an Easter egg hunt throughout the location in search of clues to uncover the secret backstory of the location.

A retail extravaganza

Developed in collaboration with Meow Wolf, one of the biggest elements of the site’s immersion is the “Mega Mart” – designed and developed by the former art collective and multimedia production company. A mix of interactive experiences, art installations and funhouse.

The experience has turned out to be one of the site’s hits – with guests walking through an imitation superstore with fake products and a hidden tale of capitalism and excess at its core, betraying the roots of Meow Wolf’s art commune and supported by an extensive merchandise -store.

This art installation is accompanied by several other examples of gallery and installation styles. These range from “Museum Fiasco” – featuring immersive light and sound installations; “Wink World: Portal into the Infinite” – offers an exhibition transition between a funhouse with mirror rooms and jump scares, developed by one of the co-founders of the Blue Man Group.

All of this is supported by a physical attraction, added to the interior ceiling of the venue, featuring the “Haley’s Comet” dueling zipline.

Retro bar arcade chain “Emporium” was one of the first shopping offers to open, with its mix of entertainment and cocktails. “Dueling Axes” has taken up residence in the aisle chain, supported by the sports simulator chain “Five Iron Golf”.

Meanwhile, a rum-tasting facility, “Lost Spirits Distillery,” rounds out Area 15’s populated units. There is a large open space with its own bar and private rental space, but that basically covers the eclectic population of the flagship site.

A plan and a focus

Some call this the “spaghetti against the wall” approach (throw a bowl of ideas against the wall and see what sticks), but Area 15 operators have a very clear business plan about what to get out of each unit to make it work. reach the goal. top performance.

Much of the concept is still being defined since it opened, and to work out the kinks in the model. The operation recently activated an “Experience Pass” ticketing package with unlimited access, addressing some of the price-splitting complaints of the individual elements of the site – while still avoiding ticketing at the door.

The district comprising the Area 15 warehouse has been developed not only as a facility location but also to act as a ‘hub’ and attract other entertainment and hospitality offerings. This included a surprise installation of the Netflix-supported virtual reality attraction “Army of the Dead: Viva Vengeance”.

The surrounding hub space, ‘Speed ​​of Dark’, has been unveiled as an original, immersive live experience developed by Particle Ink. Set in a space called the Lighthouse, the experience will feature live actors and MR-based effects in the space, taking audiences through a story for them to explore. This outdoor space also includes the panoramic “Liftoff” cocktail experience.

The second Illuminarium

The Area 15 location itself also saw the opening of the second Illuminarium location. Housed in a purpose-built venue, this will be a flagship venue for the immersive experience venue, providing a projection environment with beamform audio, vibrating floors, and olfactory elements as guests traverse the 45-minute experiences. Illuminarium’s new Las Vegas site will house three new immersive film productions unveiled by Blooloop as “Wild: A Safari Experience”, “Space: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond” and “O’Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers”.

The facility announced that it would be launching its own NFT playing cards – which will be minted on the Polygon blockchain. Under the “On The Decks” brand, these unique NTF digital collectibles feature branded artwork that reflects location and location and hopes to be a successful entry point to crypto collectibles related to the facilities industry.

Looking ahead, Fisher Brothers, the owner, plans to open a second version in Orlando, Florida, which will include a 300,000-square-foot site comprising 20 attractions with retail space, all slated to open in 2024.

(Editor’s Note: Excerpts from this blog are from recent coverage in The Stinger Report, published by Spider Entertainment and its director, Kevin Williams, the leading interactive news service for outdoor entertainment that covers the immersive frontier and beyond.)

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