Throughout the past year, we’ve seen all sorts of different trends in remote socialization and entertainment. And among these trends, virtual murder mysteries gained popularity as fun, creative alternatives to the “real,” in-person thing.
Now, as we look ahead toward more normal seasons, it stands to reason that a lot of the virtual recreation we’ve seen will fade away in favor of real-world activity. This makes perfect sense, and in some cases we’re already beginning to see the transition. However, we have a few reasons to believe that virtual murder mysteries will retain some popularity post-pandemic, even if activity inevitably subsides a little….
Remote Activity is Here to Stay
The idea that Zoom is here to stay in office environments has become fairly widely accepted. It won’t be the only way to do business, but there is going to be more flexibility in a lot of working environments, and that alone is going to help keep the notion of “virtual hangouts” alive. Furthermore, while many may have gotten tired of their Zoom-based happy hours, friend group trivia nights, and so on, they still know they have the option now. Friends who haven’t gathered in a while, or friends who can’t meet up in person for whatever reason may well keep remote activity in mind. By extension, virtual murder mysteries will essentially be on the menu as something people can enjoy together, even if they may do so less regularly.
Murder Mysteries Weren’t Alone
Another interesting factor is that murder mysteries weren’t alone. Rather, they were part of a much broader movement into online collaborative and multiplayer activity. Throughout the pandemic, many turned to online gaming (meaning traditional video games) as a means of socializing. Many more discovered (or rediscovered) how to play poker with friends online, establishing regular games as a way of hanging out together. And then of course there were the aforementioned trivia nights, as well as all kinds of games played through Zoom. In other words, the pandemic didn’t use make virtual murder mysteries trendy. Rather, it effectively birthed a whole new category of ways in which people socialize and entertain themselves. And when you consider this broader scope, it’s hard to imagine it all just disappearing once the world gets back to normal.
It’s Easy to Innovate
Virtual murder mysteries specifically will also stick around on the grounds that they can innovate pretty much continually. Of course some creativity is required on the part of those providing the games. But given this creativity, there’s really no limit to the specific settings, character types, and mysteries that can be presented to players. Murder mysteries simply won’t get stale (or at least don’t need to), which means there will always be something new for people to try. That tends to be a good foundation for endurance in any business.
Murder & Crime Mysteries Are Extremely Popular
While there’s no explicit link between them, it’s worthwhile to consider the connection between murder mystery games and “true crime” and mystery stories. Today, there are seemingly countless beloved crime shows and documentaries. Furthermore, the best true crime podcasts tend to be among the most popular podcasts in any category — ever. People these days are simply fascinated by murder and crime mysteries, and murder mystery games — even if they’re far more playful — tap into the trend. For this reason too, it’s hard to really imagine virtual murder mysteries going anywhere anytime soon.
Again, none of this is to say virtual murder mysteries won’t lose some attention after the pandemic. But they do generally look to be among the forms of virtual entertainment and socialization poised to stick around.