Mall Owner Wants to Create “Wizards Unite” In-Game Locations to Attract More Customers
As everyone knows by now, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has been released, and while the gaming industry seems to be making big bucks, the same cannot be said for shopping malls. Simon Property Group, which is America’s largest mall owner, is now looking to gain back customers by providing gamers with a place to meet up to play together. This idea definitely gets a yes from us.
Simon Property Group announced that it will be investing $5 million in the company Allied Esports. This company will be responsible for creating lounges that will serve as a meeting place for gamers and a location for competitive video game events. The best part of all this is that Simon is also working with Niantic, the company that created Wizards Unite. This is a big deal, because the mall giant plans to turn 200 of its shopping centers into in-game locations where wizards can, well, unite.
This exciting new development means that players of Wizards Unite can visit Simon properties for extra rewards. Players will discover sponsored inns and fortresses at Simon malls that they won’t find anywhere else. They will also be able to attend live events that will be hosted at select malls, along with QR assignments.
The idea behind creating special meeting areas for gamers in the mall is to bring some feet back into stores. Simon is investing in all these new developments with the hope that when wizards and witches flood to the mall to meet up for a game, they will also take the time to grab a bite and do a bit of shopping.
This new initiative comes after American retailers have announced that over 6,000 store closures have already taken place this year. That’s a lot, so it’s no wonder that malls are trying to change the way they attract customers. Joel Stephen, who is the senior vice president at the property consultancy CBRE, says that it’s become necessary for malls to reinvent themselves, adding that “landlords want tenants who can create a community.” Let’s be honest – online shopping has become incredibly popular, and going to the mall has become a once-in-a-while outing for some, but one thing most of us still leave the house for is to go play games with our friends. It’s no wonder that malls are starting to change their appeal.
Simon will be putting its new plan into action as soon as possible and has already partnered with Allied to create 10,000- to 15,000-square-foot esports lounges. These lounges will initially be created at 12 of its malls for both competitive and organized video game events. The company is considering to bring more esports lounges to its other malls in the near future as well. Luckily for all the witches and wizards out there, all Simon malls will offer extra game rewards, not just those with gaming lounges. Gaming lounge or not, we’re pretty excited – if we get to meet up at the mall to play Wizards Unite, you can bet your wand we will be there.
It seems that, pretty soon, the mall will go back to being you and your friends’ favorite meeting place. Only this time, you’ll be walking around trying to save the wizarding world from exposure. If only your younger self had known how cool you’d be in a couple of years…