Around Town

‘Immersive group gaming’ to open in Ballston Quarter in early 2022

The “immersive group gaming” experience that’s coming to Ballston Quarter could be ready for gamers in just a few months.

Early in 2022, the mall will debut a location of London-based Electric Gamebox, where people work together in teams to complete challenges and games in what the company calls “smart rooms,” ARLnow has learned.

“We are hoping to open our doors to the public in early 2022,” a company spokeswoman tells ARLnow.

The entertainment facility will take up about 2,217 square feet of space located at Suite 2233, on the second floor of Ballston Quarter, according to a permit filed with Arlington County.

Users in teams of two to six use their whole bodies to play 15-minute to 1-hour games in these smart rooms. New games are released regularly.

“Visitors to the Ballston Quarter location can enjoy a range of these games, including our recently launched ‘Shaun the Sheep‘ game,” she said.

The games, designed in-house, are fully immersive without virtual-reality headsets — but gamers do have to don visors with sensors.

The expansion is part of Electric Gamebox’s 2022 expansion into the U.S., says the spokeswoman.

In the first quarter of 2022, Electric Gamebox will be opening at least five U.S. locations, including Arlington, Chicago, Houston, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The Ballston location was chosen as part of an existing partnership the company has with Brookfield Properties, which owns Ballston Quarter.

“We chose Ballston Quarter because of its reputation as a young, vibrant, family friendly community, and as it’s a quick train ride to Washington, D.C., this is a perfect spot for locals and tourists alike,” the spokeswoman said.

Earlier this year, Electric Gamebox announced it had closed on $11 million in funding, with participation from Brookfield, which agreed to bring the immersive gaming experience to some of its properties over the next year. The company aims to open 100 new locations over the next two years and more than 1,000 locations in the U.S. and the United Kingdom by 2026.

The company was co-founded by Will Dean and David Spindler, who founded the popular obstacle race Tough Mudder and Tough Mudder Bootcamp, respectively.

The company has raised $25 million since it was founded in 2019 in Central London. Today, Electric Gamebox has locations in Essex and Manchester in the U.K. It opened its first U.S. spot in Dallas in December 2020.

Electric Gamebox is expanding while other VR gaming companies have reportedly struggled to take off and faced significant setbacks during the pandemic.