It is believed that the idea of the escape room began with a room that was built called True Dungeon. This was in 2003 in GenCon Indy. A lot of them that exist today have many characteristics of this first room. True Dungeon is a team-based game, and the focus was on the players to be able to solve different problems and puzzles. This idea still holds true, as teams of players have to cooperate.
Japan caught onto the idea that escape rooms could turn into something relatively big. One was built there. It has grown exponentially and even has a magazine of its own now called Real Escape Game.
In 2011, an escape room was built in Australia and then another one in Singapore. They had a goal to grow this into a business, and there are now well beyond 60 of them. Some escape rooms were made into a franchise by a Hungarian operator in 2011, who has managed to set up 20 of these in Europe and Australia. However, this gentleman believes that they were his idea and did not have any clue about the ones that were built in Japan. There are differences in the game, depending on the way it is played.
By the end of 2019, escape rooms now exist worldwide. It is estimated there are about 14,000 of them, to bring joy and entertainment to those who enjoy this type of gameplay.
There are a lot of people who are taking an interest in these as a business, and it does cost money, of course, to set them up. Although it is said that for about $7000, one may be able to build one. It would be on a smaller level that could accommodate perhaps four to eight players.