Red Bull Mind Gamers: a boost for mind games?
Mind games like chess and go have a long and rich history. Generally not as popular as many ‘classical’ sports or even esports these days, it certainly attracts many people from all walks of life. Could mind games become more popular when a brand like Red Bull invests in it?
Red Bull Mind Gamers
Red Bull seems to have seen an opportunity in the mind gamers market, just as they did with extreme sports. They have set up Red Bull Mind Gamers, “an online hub for mental challenges that stretch the mind” and that is behind the organisation of different global tournaments for mind gamers. In its early stages, it is still relatively small, highlighted by limited following on social media channels. However, their mind gamers’ hub definitely has potential for growth with a broad group to target and different mind games and challenges to offer.
The online hub
The Red Bull Mind Gamers hub offers over 20 different games based on strategy, visual, creativity, logic, music and memory. In the game Streamline for example players have to grow a line through a grid of obstacles and try to reach a goal, while MIT Game Lab created the strategic game Hero for the Mind Gamers hub.
Red Bull also partners with expert partner institutions and designers to offer monthly themed challenges based on the different skill categories. In addition to this, mind gamers can find articles, tournament details and log on to an online community on the website.
Red Bull also organises mind gamers tournaments. In 2018 the Austrian brand joins forces with Rubik’s Cube to hold the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Championship. Based around the Rubik’s Cube, the tournament’s qualification takes place in over 16 countries. In September 2018 the best will compete at the finals in Boston, USA, for a prize purse of $30,000.
Another global tournament organised by Red Bull is the Red Bull Mind Gamers’ global Escape Room World Championship. In 2017 the first edition took place in Budapest, Hungary, and a second season will take place in 2018.
Escape room gaming has really found footing over the last decade, with many locations opening around the world. To escape the room, players or groups of players have to solve a series of puzzles that challenge creativity, logic, visual thinking and strategic skills within a time limit.
Red Bull has entered the booming sport by creating a World Championship, in which four-person teams have to solve challenges developed by industry-leading innovators like MIT Game Lab and the Technical University of Vienna.
Escape rooms vs. esports
Especially the Escape Room World Championship and escape room gaming seem to have potential for (exponential) growth, given the popularity of escape rooms throughout the world and the interactive design of the challenges.
Interesting about escape room gaming is that it has a lot of characteristics in common with esports. Think about how both have their origin in gaming, can be played alone and in groups, have a young (millennial) target group and require training to improve. Spectators could watch escape rooms similarly to how they consume esports. All of which bode well for the potential market of escape rooms.
With a big name like Red Bull investing in (new-age) mind games, and even organising global events, the mind gamers market could well take off in the coming years. After all Red Bull’s investments in the extreme sports market did not hurt.