In my April 3rd blog, The impact of virtual entertainment experiences during the lockdown on the location-based entertainment landscape, I discussed how during the pandemic when people can no longer post shareworthy out-of-home experiences on social media, they still have the evolutionary programmed need to get status fixes and build social capital. I questioned whether we will see the development of virtual experiences that people will value and share as much as real world ones? Will quarantined people start posting screen-capture photos of ‘must-attend’ streaming events that are shareworthy enough to build their social currency and create FOMO? Will these become new habits rather than temporary pandemic replacements? Is it possible that post-crisis we may no longer have as great a need to meet up out-of-home for communal entertainment and leisure experiences if we have learned that we can get the same feeling of togetherness and develop social capital with virtual experiences?
As I described in that blog, virtual experiences are readily available to everyone, so they lack the exclusivity and uniqueness that is required to create conspicuous leisure value. To truly have shareworthy conspicuous value, they will have to be offered as one-time events to a limited audience, perhaps through limited sale of virtual tickets.
Now we have one example of a virtual event that has the possibility of meeting those requirements, Club Quarantee, an online nightclub that hosts parties on Zoom. It has all the trappings of an uber-exclusive New York nightclub including a doorman who checks that you’ve paid the $10 cover charge. You can pay an extra $80 to get a private virtual table, a private video room where a small group of people can listen to the DJ or watch performances separate from the rest of the crowd. The online club even request attendees wear nightclub attire.
Three hundred people attended the first dance party last week. Club Quarantee’s next event will take place this Saturday. It is limited to 50 virtual tables and a total of 1,000 attendees.
The limited attendance and admission charge definitely give Club Quarantee many of the characteristics of an experience, virtual in this case, that has conspicuous leisure value. Will we see the evolution of other virtual leisure experiences with heightened conspicuous value? Only time will tell whether virtual clubbing like this and other virtual experiences will be the new competition and take market share from out-of-home leisure experiences when we can again visit them.