Friday, May 10, 2013

Trampolines as a business

Related to our Kinect trampoline and circus games, I just checked that Googling "trampoline park" gives 628000 results. Trampoline centers/parks seem to be a growing branch of the family entertainment center business, as discussed, e.g., in this article about the Sky Zone franchise, which had 15 centers in the U.S. and planned to more than double that when the article was written in 2012.

Here's two pretty compelling videos, the first one from House of Air from the U.S. and the second one from Bounz, one of the few European ones.

Despite the thrill, it remains unclear whether trampoline parks are craze that will fade like the soft-contained-play (SCP) and inflatable centers did, as explained in this article. According to the author, trampoline centers are similar to SCP and inflatable centers in that they too haven't proven their business model for long-term viability, and they are at the same time more dangerous. However, I think that while trampolines may be more dangerous than bouncing castles, they also present much more potential for long term excitement, as the increased air time and softer landings make it possible to learn a wider variety of skills and tricks. For example, it's not very comfortable to land on one's back or belly on an inflatable bouncing surface, whereas it's quite easy on a trampoline and one can also do many interesting variations, such as turntabling: