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Case Study: Lockdown

CASE STUDY: vrCAVE and Lockdown Escape Rooms

Lockdown Escape Rooms

Red Deer, Alberta

A small city in central Alberta, Red Deer hosts a top tier escape room company in Lockdown Escape Rooms.

From zombie containment to an intricate cave to cabin with full room motion, Lockdown challenges themselves to deliver intricate puzzles with high quality theming.

On top of the escape room business, co-owner and manager Tammy expanded her operations to running her own construction and design company, catering to creating props and technology for escape rooms all around North America. 

All this expertise drives a dedicated customer base — and when Tammy tried the vrCAVE rooms for herself, she knew her guests would love them.

The Next Step for a Successful Escape Room Business

“Lockdown Escape Rooms has never been afraid to test things. And because we make the effort to be different, it has always brought us success.” 

VR became another new thing to try. Lockdown drove to nearby Calgary and played a game at Get Outta Here. They drove back and played another. And another. Then they got the headsets, tested the games, and did what they do best.

”When we first opened up our VR escape room location, we put up an open house event. People can come in and play, try out our selection of vrCAVE games for a free five to ten minute session. We ended up having a lineup of 40-50 people, with some waiting for almost two hours to play our games.

“Thank god we prepared snacks and coffee for the people waiting in line, because we had no idea we’d get such an overwhelming response like we did.”

Those people came back for the full games. With a full roster of seven exclusive vrCAVE games to keep them all busy, the return on her investment came fast.

“We’ve had people who’ve played every one of our VR escape rooms after only being open for a few months.” 

Lockdown had a great start with the open house concept. So they’ve kept that basic five-minute idea alive.

"once we can get them into a five-minute free game, almost all of them will come back and play the full game"


Tried and True: Try Before You Buy

Just because a business like Lockdown embraces VR doesn’t mean that all customers will immediately. Common concerns among escape room business owners are, “Don’t people prefer physical escape rooms?” and, “Will they really buy into VR?”

We’ve conducted surveys that show that more than 90% of escape room visitors love both VR and physical rooms, with many actually preferring the VR. But that’s post-experience.

A key strategy that’s worked for Tammy was getting creative with promoting the VR. Customers that have never tried VR — or even never tried specifically free roam VR — might be unsure about whether they should drop the money to put on a headset without knowing whether they’ll like the experience. So, Lockdown just lets people try it.

“In our VR location, we offer five-minutes free for a game so they can try them out first before committing. This is a really big draw for us, because once we can get them into a five-minute free game, almost all of them will come back and play the full game. Then they’ll come back again and play all the other games.” 

Five minutes is enough to eliminate any worry. As soon as the headset goes on, people get it. vrCAVE’s VR escape rooms have been built to be as intuitive as possible. There are no controls to learn — players move by walking and interact by reaching out their hands with just one button press to pick objects up.

So right away they understand: this works just like an escape room, only it’s in VR.

“There’s no difference between our real life escape rooms and VR escape rooms. Some people prefer real life gaming over VR and vice versa, but as far as demographics go, it’s everybody playing VR. You just have to get them in the headset. 

Location-Based VR Goes Far Beyond Home VR

Part of what Tammy’s showing in those five minutes is the immense freedom you get with free-roam VR — as well as how fun it is to have your friends in the experience with you.

vrCAVE games:

  • Work for 2-5 players — home are typically remote multiplayer or singleplayer only
  • Work in 15’ x 18’ spaces — home VR is usually stationary
  • Require no prior gaming experience — home VR often requires familiarity with controllers

“When we go over how the VR escape rooms work, it’s a pretty simple process. There’s only one button to push, the walls in the game are the same as the walls in reality, so if you run into a wall in the game, then you’re likely to run into a wall in reality.“

The other big thing about vrCAVE’s VR escape rooms? They’re not available at home. And when you sign on as the vrCAVE partner in your area, you get exclusivity over your territory. This means that your business is the only place people can have these experiences. As Lockdown has experienced both with the physical rooms and the VR rooms, if you offer amazing quality that nobody else can, you get that repeat business.

“When we hosted the open house on our VR location’s opening day, we ran 120 people through the headsets. Only two people needed eye adjustments. Nobody got sick. That’s really important for us, because when I talk about a good player experience, it's that they feel good during the game and all the way through. And with vrCAVE, that’s something we can provide them.”

Corporate and Offsite VR Opportunities

The requirements for setting up and operating a vrCAVE unit offsite are simple as in the business. All that’s needed is a 15’ x 18’ space, a single computer, a router, and the VR headsets. With a recent event in Rocky Mountain House, Tammy was able to give short demos to a huge number of event attendees, with many following up with full game bookings later on.

And escape rooms, VR and otherwise, are excellent team building challenges as it turns out.

“When we have a corporate event, they usually need a facility that can hold ten, twenty or even up to forty people at times. The hard part about large group bookings is that our physical escape rooms can only accommodate so much. 

“So our solution is to separate them into groups.”

With two VR arenas on top of the physical rooms, that’s more ways a large group of 30 can be split up for simultaneous play.

“By the end of it, when they all group together, they share their experiences with one another and now the physical escape room group wants to try the VR escape rooms, while the VR group wants to come back to try out the physical escape rooms.”

Driving The Adrenaline Rush

Lockdown Escape Rooms strives to incorporate novel features in their escape rooms to make their experiences adrenaline-ridden and memorable. You might have to crawl through a cave, find the entire room shaking, or find the intensity surge with carefully placed music. Because they’re passionate about delivering a solid player experience that takes their guests to another world for an hour, vrCAVE’s approach to creating immersive, diverse experiences that blend mind-bending puzzles with tight action fits right in.

With each game we create, we always ask ourselves what can we do to take our players further into the world that we are creating?

“What we like about vrCAVE is that there are physical team-building aspects to their escape rooms. Their games are not just logic, players are engaged throughout the entire thing. Partnering with vrCAVE gives us the same good-feel and seamless player experience that we provide to our customers.”

This makes it easy to move traffic between both entertainment offers Lockdown provides. People who play one type want to play the other. And they want to play them all.

“We’re just waiting for more games! We literally have an Excel sheet of people we’ve contacted who can fit the space we have, and provide an experience like vrCAVE, but so far it’s been a challenge.

“Give us more games please!”