From Gamification to Innovation: Sugar Creative's Highlights from IAAPA Orlando

Studio News
November 21, 2023

Sugar recently returned from the IAAPA Expo in Orlando. This event is a pivotal gathering in the entertainment industry, showcasing the latest trends and innovations, especially in the realms of AR, VR, and AI and how they are redefining entertainment and education in the visitor attraction sector. This was a window into a future where digital technology isn't just an add-on but the core of visitor experiences.  

Ed Cookson from Sarner, an 878AD partner, takes the stage

Our Director, Jason Veal, took part in the panel "Shall We Play a Game? Using Gamification In Your Experiences." alongside other notable speakers like Meghan Gardner from Guardian Adventures and Anna Slafer from the International Spy Museum, all sharing compelling perspectives on integrating games into educational and entertainment experiences​. This session explored the effectiveness of integrating games into learning environments, using tools like LARP, AR, and video game assets, such as those from Assassin's Creed, to enhance engagement and content retention.

Insights and Trends

Each session at IAAPA offered unique perspectives and valuable takeaways, contributing to a broader understanding of the evolving landscape of entertainment technology. From discussions on the future of live entertainment in the digital age to the role of AI and AR in creating personalized experiences.

In "The Metaverse and the Future of Live Entertainment," discussions revealed the immense potential of the 'metaverse' in revolutionizing how we experience entertainment. Here, Dana Ware and Gregg Katano of Cosmos Collab explored the metaverse's potential, discussing how these virtual spaces could transform into new platforms for concerts, education, and social interaction.

Another standout session was on AI and personalization, highlighting how AI's adaptability to individual preferences is transforming the entertainment landscape. The implications for user engagement and content delivery are significant and align with our ongoing exploration of AR and VR technologies at Sugar.

We also attended a session on sustainable practices in the digital age, where industry leaders like Jakob Wahl from IAAPA and Choni Fernández from Port Aventura shared valuable insights. Their discussion on integrating sustainability with technological advancements was particularly relevant, given the growing importance of eco-friendly practices in our industry.

The Legends Panel, helmed by industry icon Bob Rogers, was particularly insightful. Featuring Tom Mehrmann, former president of Universal Beijing, and Sylvia Hase, president of Habas Entertainment, the panel delved into overcoming the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, showcasing resilience and innovation.


One key takeaway from IAAPA's range of talks and panels was the growing importance of AI in personalizing experiences. The ability of AI to adapt to individual preferences and behaviors in real-time points towards a future where technology becomes more responsive and intuitive.

A trending topic emerging from the IAAPA event is the concept of "Beyond the Gate" experiences, highlighting the industry's shift towards extending guest engagement beyond the physical visit. This approach, which harnesses digital technology to create lasting connections with visitors, is becoming increasingly relevant.

At Sugar Creative, our experience in AR, VR, and immersive storytelling positions us to provide this 'beyond the gate' value. Our development services are designed not just for on-site engagement but also to create enduring digital experiences that visitors can carry with them, blending the physical and digital worlds in a way that continues to captivate and engage long after their visit.

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