At its heart, Squid Game is a critique of capitalism and yet, Netflix can’t stop finding ways to squeeze money from it. After renewing the show for a second season and then debuting a reality show based on the series, Netflix opened a pop-up experience in Los Angeles where fans can pay to play games inspired by the show, eat Korean snacks and maybe even buy some costumes.
If you purchase general admission tickets (starting at $39), you are agreeing to participate as a contestant in a series of six games designed by Netflix inspired by the show’s deadly challenges — from glass bridge, where players have to memorize which tiles light up, to a game of ‘Gganbu’, where you have to steal all of your opponent’s marbles to win. Instead of dying, though, you’re given a bracelet that buzzes when you lose a game — but you get to move on anyway and play all six games.
As you move from room to room or game to game, you’re competing against other players in the game for a title to win. In a bit of a gimmick, Netflix says that if a guest passes all six challenges within the 70-minute experience window, it will give interested patrons priority casting consideration for a spot on the reality TV offshoot of the show, which was recently renewed for a second season. For now, the experience is only available in Los Angeles and is running for a limited time through the new year. Netflix hinted that ‘Squid Game: The Trials’ will later come to another city.
In building this in-person pop-up space, Netflix partnered with Samsung – of course, one of Korea’s premier hometown companies. For example, during Red Light, Green Light, the Galaxy S23 Ultra positioned in the game room captures key moments of gameplay with Hyperlapse video and still images. Samsung TVs and Galaxy mobile devices will be dotted throughout individual games and participants will have to navigate “experiential zones” that are surrounded by Samsung TV screens, including the flagship Neo QLED 8K, the 4K and The Frame.
Once a player is done with the games, general admission grants you access to a ‘Korean Night Market’ where you can purchase street food and soju-infused cocktails. You can also buy the signature green tracksuit worn by contestants (a Halloween costume for next year, maybe, if Squid Game costumes are still cool then?). There are also arcade-style and mini-games inspired by the show available for play.
More broadly, Netflix has been exploring ways to break free from its identity as a streaming-only service and has explored expanding into new categories outside its main service. From expanding its footprint in the gaming space (including VR) to launching brick-and-mortar branded retail stores and even dining space next year, Netflix seems determined to try to make some money selling goods and experiences inspired by its media library. The new Squid Game immersive live experience won’t be the streaming company’s first bet on pop-up experiences either. It has already experimented with the format with other hit shows like Stranger Things and Bridgerton, where it invited fans to dress in ball gowns and try to win the Queen’s attention for the title of the ‘season’s diamond.’
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/netflix-keeps-milking-squid-game-this-time-with-an-in-person-experience-starting-at-39-192303172.html?src=rss