Insights, Trends, News on the Family Entertainment Center Industry

Virtual Corporate Events with Brent Bushnell and Two Bit Circus

September 27, 2020

Corporate events are the lifeblood of any profitable FEC. With work from home the new normal, companies are looking for ways to keep employees connected. Virtual corporate events are increasingly popular. We talked to Brent Bushnell from Two Bit Circus about their success with their virtual corporate event platform, “Remote”. See Brent and others speaking at ShowUp in the Think Outside the Big Box education track.

If you’re like me, board games with friends and family have become a thing of the past. The growth of digital media, video games, and other electronic activities have hijacked our leisure time. There was no definitive moment when we stopped gathering around a table, but the lack of game nights has left a void for many. Families are increasingly disconnected, resorting to texting each other from different rooms in the same house.

Nolan Bushnell and Bob Cooney at VRFest in Las Vegas Photo Copyright Bob Cooney 2019
Chuck E Cheese and Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell and Bob Cooney at VR Fest in Vegas

Brent Bushnell is FEC royalty as one of five kids who call Nolan Bushnell “dad”.  Brent grew up amidst the birth of the arcade industry as his father created both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, two of the most enduring brands associated with the industry.

Virtual Event Pioneer Brent Bushnell and Bob Cooney at Two Bit Circus annual Gala in Los Angeles, Photo Copyright 2019 Bob Cooney
Two Masters of Ceremonies – Brent Bushnell and Bob Cooney, at the Two Bit Gala

Following in his father’s illustrious footsteps, Brent is the CEO and Co-Founder of Two Bit Circus: a Los Angeles based micro-amusement park, complete with virtual reality gaming, immersive escape rooms, arcade games, and even a robot bartender. Robot bartenders are the future you know.  They can listen to your sad stories and use AI to give you advice based on the latest psychological research. I don’t think Two Bit Circus’s version is there yet, but I wouldn’t put it past them.   

A very large portion of their Two Bit’s revenue was derived from corporate events and group sales. Since the Circus temporarily closed due to the pandemic, this group of brilliant nerds focused their attention on delivering their best group experiences remotely to help companies keep their employees connected while working from home.

Robot bartenders at virtual corporate events by Two Bit Circus - Photo Copyright 2019 Bob Cooney
Blog co-author Delaney Cooney, with the Robot Bartender in the background, enjoys one of her first legal cocktails celebrating her 21st at Two Bit Circus LA

People are hard-wired to interact. So, how do you fulfill that need when everyone is stuck at home? Pre-pandemic, Two Bit Circus offered a unique live trivia shows and performances for up to 100 people at their Club 01 theatre for corporate events. They incorporated interactive tablets at these shows. Now, they’ve taken their knowledge from and success with Club 01 and reconstructed it as a virtual corporate event experience. Establishing themselves within a proliferating market and calling attention to the need for people to stay connected in an amusing, safe manner.

Club 01 at Two Bit Circus hosts virtual corporate events for 100 at a time.
Club 01 at Two Bit Circus – Photo from Two Bit Facebook Page

Two Bit Circus created a virtual game show platform called Remote. From trivia games to charades, the platform allows companies to upgrade their virtual events from Zoom into something run, engaging and different. Companies can host their own game shows, whether it’s for small teams or large virtual corporate events. Or they can now join a public weekly game show every Thursday with competitors around the world. It’s a simple concept: a game show with a live host streamed over the internet, participants playing along from home. But the design and execution are critical to its success.

Two Bit Circus Remote virtual corporate event platform.
Two Bit Circus Remote Virtual Corporate Event Game

Nowadays, we’re all inundated with “you’re on mute,” “I can’t hear you,” buffering videos, and dropped calls. Brent stresses, “we lose the subtleties of call and response in conversation as we transition into these remote settings. As humans, we’re sensitive to about 50 milliseconds. The ‘mmms’ and ‘uh huhs’ that you need in a back and forth conversation fall in the 130 to 150 milliseconds range.”

It’s impossible to track the nuance of facial responses and responses across lots of people simultaneously. Two Bit addresses this inate virtual limitation in the way they break large groups of people into smaller teams.

Brent reminds us that whether conscious or not, people crave live. Live events. Live music. Live. Real. Authentic connection. But until we can return to live, Remote has fulfilled the promise that interactive tv has been dangling in front of us for decades: real-time, remote fun. From weekly shows to creating a new revenue stream with virtual corporate events, Brent has made the most out of this situation.

The reach of Remote has enabled Two Bit Circus to extend its brand beyond the LA market. Virtual and digital extensions of our in-venue experiences are here to stay. These will generate new revenue opportunities for location-based entertainment providers globally.

ShowUp will be covering this emerging area of home delivery for interactive entertainment experiences in our Think Outside the Big Box education track.  Get your tickets now at www.showup.events

ShowUp is the new social convention and trade show for family entertainment centers, bowling centers, trampoline parks, cinemas, skating centers, and other location-based entertainment locations.

It's not just another series of webinars. ShowUp brings people together face to face with the latest video networking technology so they can meet, learn, collaborate, and have fun, just like a live trade show.

Join us Oct 27-29. 

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