Level up: Winnipeg gaming company expanding to United Kingdom, Ireland

A gaming business founded in Winnipeg is making the leap across the pond.

Activate Games, an immersive gaming experience, is expanding to the United Kingdom and Ireland, with plans to open 30 new spaces.

The new deal is a partnership between Activate Games and We Do Play in the United Kingdom.

Adam Schmidt, founder and CEO, said expansion has been on his mind since he first started the company with his wife. The pair loved gaming and set up the first escape room in Winnipeg, but felt that the concept, which requires intricate planning and lots of staffing, wasn’t as feasible.

“We set out to create a new business model that was nowhere else in the world, we could expand around the world fairly easily, and also something that we could maintain and create new content, right here in Winnipeg,” he said.

The centres are a blend of physical activity and gaming. Players enter immersive rooms to compete, play, and earn points while playing a variety of games.

“Each of these individual rooms are different than the other,” Schmidt said. “It’s a grid floor, or it’s a laser room or rock climbing wall that lights up and senses where you are.”

Schmidt added, “We combined all these awesome things together. And if you know you want to come to Activate and not have a physical experience, we have tons of content for you to play. Or if you just want to do a lot of cardio that day, you can come and do that as well.”

All the technology for the games is built and programmed in Winnipeg by roughly 120 staff members, Schmidt said.

The company has locations in Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan in Canada, as well as several locations in the United States, including Texas, Minnesota, Ohio and Illinois.

Activate is also planning to open 20 new stores across the United States and Canada in 2024, and also expand into Dubai.

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