Event: Where Is Immersive Gaming Going Now?
Photo by David Ruano

Immersive gaming experiences took a hit during the pandemic as venues shut down, but expect them to come roaring back as people seek greater connections and the industry grows.


That's what a bullish panel of leaders in the field said this week in an intimate gathering hosted by dot.LA at the immersive Two Bit Circus in downtown L.A. this week.

"We got sick and tired of doing the Zoom call," said Jane Chung Hoffacker, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Dream Studios, a studio focused on translating tabletop games for online gamers. "So much about being in person now is so valuable."

She said while locked down at home, people gained connections with their neighbors and it deepened their appreciation for moments. Now that pandemic's peak appears to be behind us, where is immersive gaming headed?

"Being in person right now is so valuable," she said. The sentiment translates to people playing board games or stepping into escape rooms as opposed to sitting in front of a screen alone playing video games, which exploded during the pandemic.

Photos by David Ruano

From left: Moderator and dot.LA CEO Sam Adams, Two Bit Circus co-founder Brent Bushnell, Incredible Dream Studios CEO Jane Chung Hoffacker and Stash House designer Tommy Honton.

COVID paused business for some in Southern California's burgeoning immersive community, said panelist Tommy Honton, designer of the escape room Stash House and co-creator of The Museum of Selfies. But there was a silver lining.

"Designers and companies that never would have gotten any attention have gotten a chance to shine," he said. Immersive creators went online and shared a hybrid virtual version of their games, attracting investors who might not otherwise have been exposed to them.

And Southern California, where a deep talent pool of engineers and storytellers has fueled the industry, is especially well poised to flourish as the pandemic recedes.

"There's a deep well of great storytellers and... great creators here," said Brent Bushnell, panelist and co-founder of the experimental entertainment company Two Bit Circus. He's looking toward that well as he starts to create experiences for the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Watch the recap below:

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Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients
Courtesy of Regard

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund
Image by Joshua Letona

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Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

How Braid Theory Plans to Build the Blue Economy from the Port of LA
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

San Pedro-based Braid Theory is one of the growing number of accelerators in the country looking to grow the so-called blue economy, which spans a range of ocean-related industries and is estimated at $2.5 trillion a year.

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