This is the twentieth instalment of a (just about) monthly feature which acts as a status report on the exit games in the UK and Ireland, hopefully acting as part of the basis of a survey of growth over time. It reflects a snapshot of the market as it was, to the best of this site’s knowledge, at the end of 30th November 2015.
||Number in the UK
||Number in Ireland
|Exit game locations known to have opened
|Exit game locations known to be open
|Exit game locations in various states of temporary closure
|Exit game locations known to have closed permanently
|Exit game locations showing convincing evidence of being under construction
|Exit game locations showing unconvincing evidence of being under construction
|Exit game projects abandoned before opening
The term opened should be understood to include “sold tickets”, even when it is unclear whether any of those tickets may have been redeemed for played games; the definition of location should be understood to include outdoor locations, pop-up/mobile locations with open-ended time limits and component parts of larger attractions that are played in the same way as conventional exit games. Pop-ups with deliberately very short runs (e.g. Hallowe’en specials, or games run at conventions or festivals) are not counted in this list; games with deliberately finite but longer runs (e.g. Panic!, which awarded a prize to its champion at the end of its sixteen week run) are counted.
A rather more orderly month than October; the UK has seen six additions and only House of Enigma has moved to “temporarily closed” pending further investigations. Four of those additions were definitely sites that opened in November, two of them were a shade older but only just made it to our radar. It’s surprising how low-key a new exit game can be these days.
The Report Card
Corrections would be most welcome.
This site supports all the exit games that exist and will not make claims that any particular one is superior to any other particular one. You’ve probably noticed that this table has removed the review summaries; this site has pages with the review summaries for every site in the United Kingdom and, separately, for every site in Ireland.
This site takes the view that if you’re interested in review summaries, you probably care (at least to some extent) about the question of which site probably has the best popular reviews. Accordingly, you might be interested in the TripAdvisor’s “Fun and Games” rankings lists in (picking only cities with multiple exit games listed) Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham or Sheffield.
Additionally, TripAdvisor now has pages entitled Top Escape Games in United Kingdom and Top Escape Games in Ireland. Interestingly, the ranking algorithm on this page seems to have changed somewhat; the site is happy to list (for instance) the #2 game in London ahead of the #1 game in other cities; #1s rub up against #3s, #4s and even a #6. That said, the #1s haven’t changed very much from their previous order, which suggests that the changes have not been wholesale. Credit to the same site that has been top of the national list for a third consecutive month.
You might also be interested in listings at Play Exit Games, a few of which contain ratings and from which rankings might be derived, or ranking lists from other bloggers. Looking at London sites, The Logic Escapes Me have provided recommendations and detailed comparisons; see also this piece at Bravofly and thinking bob‘s comparisons. In the North-West, there are rhe QMSM room comparisons and Geek Girl Up North site comparions as well. If you have your own UK ranking list, please speak up and it shall be included in future months. The next step could be some sort of exit game Metacritic, comparing the reviews and opinions of those who have played a great number of such games; hopefully, this would corroborate the popular reviews, or perhaps point out some inconsistencies.
It’s more laborious than difficult to estimate the number of people who play an exit game over the course of a month, though there are limits as to how accurate it can be. This site uses data available to the public from sites’ booking systems, the number of rooms at each site, any data supplied by the site (either to the public or in private correspondence), and bears in mind trends in the numbers of Facebook likes, TripAdvisor reviews, photos posted and team sizes per site according to team photos. This site won’t necessarily take owners’ claims at face value, but there’s nothing to be gained from turning business away and saying you’re sold out when in fact you aren’t. As you might expect from the weather – and November was broadly a windy month – indoor businesses like exit games do particularly well at this time of year, and at least five different sites have pushed on considerably from levels that might be considered “ticking on respectably” to levels that might be considered “ticking on well”. Excellent news!
With all this in mind, this site makes its best estimate that the number of people who have played at least one exit game in the UK or Ireland, at any point in time up to the end of November 2015, is 440,000. (This estimate is quoted to the nearest 10,000, but the site would not like to claim more confidence than “between 180,000 and 1,100,000”.) As ever, if someone plays more than one game at the same site, this figure still only counts them once, and this number is only really meaningful in the context of this site’s previous estimates. The other usual caveat is that this figure may exclude data from locations about which this site is ignorant – and, as ever, this site keeps discovering new locations that perhaps it might have found out about earlier!