The Future of Live Entertainment: Think Video Games

The lockdowns around the world are leading us to advance technologically more than ever. The bureaucracy that has held technology back for so long got rolled back due to crisis-mode and innovation was allowed to happen.

For example: Panera added a grocery service to all of their stores in 14 days. Two weeks is really fast for 2000 locations to organize and create an ecommerce interface and entire supply chain repurposing.

Another example: Telemedicine (doing doctor visits online) was very difficult and unusual. Now, nearly every doctor’s into them and they’re on track to save a lot of money in healthcare.

Pre-Covid Stage Shows

Sure Cirque Du Soleil has applied for bankruptcy protection during this time, but remember that they were seeing dropping numbers in attendance at least in their Vegas shows. Without any research, I think they were in decline. Ringling Bros was out of business. Broadway is basically just Disney brands because nobody else wanted to take any risks.

Grand entertainment is not so much in demand.

People want bespoke

While big stage shows were declining, personal experiences were blowing up. Selfie museums and certain kinds of festivals were booming. The wonderful world of the filter bubble has made our entertainment very custom, very dopaminey, and very rewarding. Our customized social media feeds give us just what we want and we’re starting to expect that from everywhere.

Now, while people are turning to digital entertainment (and digital everything) more for a while, they’re getting a taste of how much more personal those experiences can be.

The difference is humanity

We need humanity in entertainment, but digital entertainment companies are figuring out ways to incorporate more humanity into the mix. Facebook algorithms are more connected to your moods and feelings. Tiktok feels like real relationships. Video games have deeper stories. The characters are more real.

Why video games are going to win

Video games, and anything that’s gamified (including your credit cards) are incredible at custom and rewarding experiences. They meet the player at the player’s level, and give rewards throughout the process.

Good games adjust constantly to the players skills or find ways to reward different levels of achievement so it always feels like success to the player.

Simple shifts

The simplest shift is to consider a show as not a show. It’s not one thing broadcast to a crowd. Recognize it as an experience for each individual. Even if you keep everything the same and start to look at the moments, you’ll notice…

  • each individual comes in at a different time
  • each one notices different things
  • each has either a guest with them or is alone or is meeting someone
  • each is interested in a different part of the experience
  • each has their own story of what the experience means

When you start to see this stuff, all of a sudden it’s easy to see how you can gamify it all. Maybe you can give people whatever color popcorn they want. Maybe you can give each person a different ticket that has a fortune on it or some message that changes the show. Maybe you can give people a fucked up setting in which to take a selfie. It doesn’t take that much work, it just takes a little empathy.

Written for folks who want to attract and energize groups

Scot Nery is an emcee who has helped some of the biggest companies in the world achieve entertainment success. He's on an infinite misson to figure out what draws people in and engages them with powerful moments.

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