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 different games based on strategy, visual, creativity, logic, music and memory.
In the game Tetris® M1ND BEND3R for example players can test their visual skills by playing the much-loved Tetris game with a twist, while MIT Education Arcade created a strategic game Switchback for the Mind Gamers hub.
Red Bull also partners with expert partner institutions and independent game developers to offer monthly challenges based on the different skill categories. The re-launched (2019) monthly challenges will culminate in the final Red Bull Mind Gamers challenge. In 2020 seven global winners will then get the chance to go on a trip to the Red Bull Discovery Lab at MIT.
In addition to this, mind gamers can find global scores on the website and log on to an online community.
Apart from the monthly global challenges, Red Bull also organises mind gamers tournaments.
In 2019 the Austrian brand once again joined forces with Rubik’s Cube to hold the Red Bull Rubik’s Cube World Championship. Based around the Rubik Cube, the tournament’s qualification took place in multiple countries, including India, Spain, Mexico and China. In November the best competed at the finals in Moscow, Russia. In 2018 the prize purse was $30,000.
Another global tournament Red Bull organised is the Red Bull Mind Gamers’ global Escape Room World Championship. In 2017 the first edition took place in Budapest, Hungary.
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.