Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is Universal Studios Orlando Planning a Third Theme Park Based on Video Games? Edited with new infos!

According to Billy Donelly of This is Infamous website Universal Studios Orlando is planning to build a third theme park in Orlando on a land they'll buy anytime soon and "expand their footprint even further as a multi-day vacation destination to rival Walt Disney World."  For This is Infamous Universal is "in the process of acquiring the necessary land surrounding their currently developed areas with these parcels being a done deal in order to realize their designs on something bigger."

Now, you may remember the recent announcement in March of  the Universal’s deal with Nintendo and Billy Donnely is saying that this third theme park will be themed on famous video games. Rumors were saying that Universal will be using Nintendo to revive kiddie areas of  current parks but although it might be the case and Universal might split Nintendo into multiple parks a Mario Kart ride is although not announced yet officially is in the works, but This is Infamous is also hearing that "a Pokemon and a The Legend of Zelda rides would be created." And all these "may end up getting their own immersive worlds – and that cannot be done in the kiddie area alone."

The other big license Billy is hearing from his sources and which would be a part of this new park would be World of Warcraft, ""which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given Legendary’s partnership with Universal now and the fact that the duo is heading up the release of Duncan Jones’ WARCRAFT movie next year."

As Billy notes, "with five on-site hotels open and Volcano Bay, their first water park set to cut the ribbon in 2017, the timing is lining up perfectly for Universal to make a valid attempt at stealing some of Disney’s thunder and their market share in Orlando." The name of this third theme park has not yet been chosen but Billy sources told him that according to Universal plans the envisioned date for its opening would be 2021. 

As Slash Film reports also today "Universal Studios Orlando was about the movies, while Universal’s Islands of Adventure was more about books and cartoons come to life — think about it: Jurassic Park, Doctor Seuss, Marvel comic books and Harry Potter are all based on books at their core. So it makes sense for a third Universal park to focus on another medium – video games." Slash Film also notes that "Universal Studios is of course producing and releasing the big screen adaptation of Warcraft directed by Duncan Jones, so that makes sense. There is also a very huge fan base behind the Warcraft universe that could drive a ton of traffic to an Orlando park if they were to devote an entire land (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-style) to the property."

For people - just like me - who are not really specialists or hard-core fans of video games this idea of a theme park based on video games licenses may look odd but these games have been sold and have dozens - if not hundreds - of millions of fans around the world and i have to say that, if true, this idea might be one of the smartest ideas Universal had since the Harry Potter lands. 

One more news today which may be linked to this third theme park is coming from Parkscope which is saying that "on Monday, documents filed with the Orange County Comptroller indicated that a portion of the old land that Universal, then owned by Vivendi, once considered its next step in Orlando before being sold to a developer in 2003, had been bought by a company named AFF Universal. AFF Universal is what looks to be nothing more than a shell company, as it was only created at the end of last month. They paid 27 million for the property, so they shelled out a decent amount." As Parkscope notes he have "no idea if this is anything in substance" and it can be "nothing", but this added to This si Infamous report starts to be something and we'll keep an eye on what will happen next as it would make sense for Universal to create this third gate in Orlando.

Editing: A faithful D&M reader sent me the above map showing- in yellow - the piece of land that could be available for a Universal third park, ands not too far from the two others parks. Tis piece of land don't include Lockeed Martin, located just above. The yellow outline could be the new Universal new land. The green line could be some kind of peoplemover or monorail parallel to Universal Blvd. From the parking garage to the new land / park.

As i said abovea theme park about video games - which for the most i don't know - is not big excitement for me but i still think that it's a really smart move from Universal. There are dozens if not hundred of millions of young - and even less young - gamers and if Universal design for them attractions as good as he did for Harry Potter, it should be very successful. The move is even better than that as they target some specific people Disney didn't even thought about. If we take World of Warcraft only -  a massively multiplayer online role-playing game - according to Wikipedia it has grossed over 10 billion dollars, and is also the highest grossing video game of all time. In January 2014 it was announced that more than 100 million accounts had been created over the game's lifetime.

So my guess, is that someone at Universal probably wake up one morning and had an epiphany, realizing that a theme park based about video games was "the new frontier". As i've said , as i don't know anything about all these games, so it'll be hard for me to have an emotional feeling in this kind of park, but potential millions of players will have and will be excited like young wizards can be when they enter Harry Potter lands. So if it's true i think it's a very very smart move.

Editing 2: More about this Universal mystery as the reader who's sent me the map you've seen in the two posts below reminded me that one year ago there was strong rumors ( and apparently talks between the two ) that Comcast / Universal was in discussion to buy Sea World, and not only Sea World Orlando of course but Sea World with all its parks.

Where it becomes interesting and you'll see why on the new map below that he did for me ( again ) is how it would look if Universal was the owner of Sea World in Orlando and building a third gate with attractions based on video games located at mid-way between Universal Orlando and IOA and Sea World. just like on the previous map, the part circled in yellow is the land which could be used for a third park and the lines in green could be a people mover / monorail or any kind of system you want to transport the guests between all the parks. And by doing this Comcast / Universal would have 4 parks to compete with Disney.

Remember that all this is just thoughts - if not wishful thinking - until further official announcement...
You can read HERE and HERE last year articles talking about a Sea World acquisition by Comcast.

Pictures: copyright Universal Studios, Nintendo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, for non gamers this isn't a pull at all. Agree it could be success though. I would much prefer them spend $$ on more Harry Potter expansion personally. I would go and stay longer for that.