Characteristics of a Good Game
February 21, 2017
Constructing a Game about a Terrorist Cell
March 6, 2017

Groupon and Us

Groupon and Us
by Kozan Soykal

This will probably be short post, but it’s something I have been thinking about a lot past few weeks.

Have you ever had something that all your buddies loved, but you did not? Like everyone around you loves thick slabs of ribeye on a barbecue, but your eyes are on only the mushrooms and bell peppers? Did you feel obligated to like the ribeye because everybody loved it?

This more or less how we feel about Groupon, Living Social and similar sites. A lot of escape rooms in the valley are on Groupon. People continually ask why we are not on Groupon, or if we would match prices of our competitors on Groupon. We have, so far, said no to all these requests.

We use Groupon to play games ourselves. PanIQ is one of our favorite escape rooms in Phoenix area and they do Groupon – so we always visit them with Groupon. Why pay full price for something when we can pay half?

From the point of view of the escape room, Groupon is a horrifying deal. You put tickets on Groupon for half price. Groupon takes half, so you are left with 25%… It would almost make sense if we were a barber shop, or something similar which people would use every month: Groupon could be used as a tool to meet new customers, with the goal of converting some of them regulars. But we have products that can be experienced only once. Selling our games at 75% off would destroy our business.

And once you are on Groupon, people expect you to be on Groupon forever. People will not come to your place again until they find the next deal. Groupon is like an addictive drug in this case. We know we won’t go to PanIQ if we can’t get a Groupon deal – which is disturbing when you run an establishment that uses Groupon.

Yet other companies do it, and are successful. It may be that we lack the business savvy – we balance our books at the end of the month, and see what we are doing. Maybe it is better to accept losses and run cheap games to increase our reach. Maybe it will become clear to us a year later, when we have more experience with the business side of things.

But for now, we think cutting our price to a quarter is not the way to go to increase sales. We think sales should be increased by running top quality games, having top quality service and building a solid reputation. A price slash feels like the easy way out and is opposite of what we aim for.

Escape safe. Don’t cut the wrong wire.

Kozan Soykal
Game Design Team Member
Dare to Escape AZ