Why a VR Arcade as a New Attraction at Your Bowling Center?

We had such a blast at this year’s Bowl Expo that we have decided to hit a few state level shows.  Send an e-mail with the subject line of “State Shows” to find out if we’ll be at a show near you. Thank you BPAA. Awesome time!!

This post was originally written for the good people stopping by booth 916 at the world’s largest bowling show, #BowlExpo17. We wanted to be able to answer one very important question for you…

Should you consider a VR Arcade as a new attraction at your bowling center?

At every show in every year it’s always the same thing. Maybe it’s not the same THING, but it’s the one thing. That one MUST HAVE new experience that will help drive customers to your venue. Want to know what is so cool about this years?

It’s the one attraction where your customers can play mini-golf, experience  the feeling of rock climbing. drive any kind of vehicle you can imagine or shoot and be shot all inside of a 10’x10′ space. This, and so much more is the promise of Virtual Reality.

Please note:  experiencing VR images on a  2 dimensional flat screen (like your phone or a monitor) is like saying you understand how hot boiling water is while in a Jacuzzi. That said, here are just a few of the dozens and dozens of experiences that already exist:

Like Glo-Golf with better ROI and less space
Climbing Walls will seem easy after this VR trip.
When was the last time you drove a train?

If you like “shooters” there are sooooo many options.

This was my favorite shoot em up in VR

These Zombies will only TRY to eat you in VR
You can be a Pirate? In Space?? Yes Please!

You can really get a workout in these experiences.

Want to run the ultimate obstacle course?
You’ll think you’re in Tron.
Life under water comes alive  in VR
You can even be Master Yoda in VR

And this is barely the beginning. With over 60 (and growing weekly) licensable titles your customers will have so many great reasons to keep coming back for more.

What does VR gaming look like?

VR Gaming is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. And the only way to truly get it, is to slap on a pair of High End goggles connected to a super fast computer. That stuff your friend was showing you connected to a phone shouldn’t be called VR.

Although it looks totally lame in 2D relative to what’s really happening, check out this video of me playing a fun bow and arrow game in “The Lab”: 

Should we be working together?

We came to #BowlExpo17 to find forward thinking centers that want to make this a reality for their customers. We know that bowling centers and VR are a tremendous match.  If you are wanting a new attraction for your center, look how easy we make it to work together.

We have two options designed to get you operational based on your business’s level of tech know how and available time. The “VR Arcade Business in a Box” option takes care of your every need concierge style. The “Assisted Do it Yourselfer” plan gives you (or your smart techs) the information and training they need to get your VR Arcade up and running. Both of these plans come with our amazing VR Arcade Management Software that will help you manage your arcade and the game licensing costs. 

As our valuable customer you’ll become a member of the PLVRClub where you’ll find all kinds of best practices, content and special offers. There is also a forum where you can interact with other VR Arcade Owners who bond together over their desire for all of the VR Arcades to succeed.

In short, VR Arcades will pop up in your town faster than escape rooms did. You may be in a perfect position to open the first one in your area with little alteration to your existing center. If this is something that appeals to you, be sure to contact us!

From Arcades to VR Arcade

 

Remember when Space Invaders hit in 1978?

It was the biggest game since Monopoly and it turns out it was basically nothing compared to others in the arcade space.

Because when Pac Man (Fun Online Pac Man Game You Can Play After You Read This) was released in 1980 it took the world by storm. There were shirts,  cartoons and even a song dedicated to that little ghost eating pellet muncher.

By 1981 video games were most everywhere you wanted to be. Restaurants had them in their bars and lobbies. Bowling alleys had them in their own rooms. That hotel you stayed at better have had an arcade near the pool. Even movie theaters got into the act because families arrived before showtime so their kids could play. Soon individual arcades began to spring up everywhere.

Kids were bugging parents for quarters and tokens to play Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac Man. Blisters on thumbs was the new normal. It’s no doubt you’ve played at least one of these classics, and if you’re over 40, your first time may very well have been a life altering experience.

Arcades of the 80s

Well, that was then…

What’s NOW is definitely mind-bending. Imagine being transported to some of the greatest sites on our planet via Google Earth in VR.  You can literally float over the Golden Gate Bridge or the Sphinx of Giza. If that’s not your thing, how about an underwater adventure where you come eyeball to eyeball with a ginormous blue whale? You can learn just how afraid of heights you and your friends are when you see who dares to walk out on Richie’s Plank. Or maybe you just want to shoot up a bunch of zombies...don’t forget to look behind you.

As of now, the equipment is too expensive for the average person to justify. This is why VR arcades are going to be HUGE beginning in 2017.

That was then this is now
Old School Arcades vs. New School VR Arcades

Why VR Arcades NOW?!

2016 was a banner year for the Virtual Reality industry. The year started off with plenty of fresh VR users who received the Samsung Gear VR (released November 27, 2015) as a must have gift for the holidays. But this was simply a coming attraction for the big releases to come.

The two heavyweights in the industry, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive  were each released within a week of March 30 and ready to do battle. Both of these head mounted displays provided for greater immersion than the Samsung model which is superior to Google Cardboard.

The timing was great  because over the past 5-10 years the computer hardware industry had created processors that were fast enough to support this new reality that had been developing since the 1960’s.

Game developers around the globe have been dreaming of building game worlds in Virtual Reality and now they finally can. New games hit the market almost daily and you never know what will come next. The amount of new titles that have been added to the Steam VR library is quite impressive.  The four items mentioned above are a small taste. There are well over 500 experiences created as of this writing.

Looking for Early Adopters

Those places that jumped on  the arcade bandwagon by 1981 did well for themselves.  We’re at the beginning of a gaming revolution that will make Pac Man Fever look like a common cold.

We told you earlier that we want to make the process of setting up your own virtual reality arcade business an easy one. Let’s start with some questions:

  • Does your venue pride itself on providing cutting edge experiences?
  • Can you attract customers between the ages of 12 and 50?
  • Are you looking to replace an under-performing attraction?
  • Do you have between 800-1000 sq ft available? (doesn’t have to be contiguous)
  • Would older siblings spend money if you had something for them to do?
  • Would you like to add six figures worth of revenue?

If you answered yes and are interested in reading what we do, click HERE. Otherwise send us a note and we will call you soon.

Social Media Mastery for FECS

Family Entertainment Centers are all about FUN. Social Media is the way we broadcast what we’re doing to the world. Put them together and it’s like Peanut Butter and Chocolate. This post explores 4 social media sites you must be using to grow your FEC.

LinkedIn is the place for business.

LinkedIn – Serious Business

With 450M + users this is a powerful tool in the toolbelt. Its great for sharing your past experiences, has groups to connect with others who share a common interest, has a handful of business specific apps and the most powerful search tool in social media.

In my opinion the best offering LinkedIn has is the ability to either find or be found. Their search capabilities are incredible. In fact, Google uses LinkedIn as one of the first places it checks when a search on a person is conducted. This search is important for your event managers to find event planners and for them to find you. H.R. directors are also looking for “Team Building” exercises. Can they do those at your place? You wouldn’t mind a 30-50 person party at 10:00 on a Tuesday, would you? Your marketing team can find strategic partners and sponsors too. With the right pictures, images and geo-focus (think right groups) your prospective clients will be able to find you and your business.

A few things you will want to be sure to do on LinkedIn:

• Join the groups that are relevant to your geography. Could be University groups, local chambers, groups based on cities in your area and more.

• Have an updated company listing.

• Leverage LinkedIn for your hiring needs.

• Complete your profile (a specific “how to” is included in this piece).

• Use the status update feature at least 3 times a week

• Upload your address book and increase the size of your network.

Twitter is the most misunderstood tool in the belt.

Twitter  – The Bird is the Word

It’s way more than just “sitting on your patio”. What’s particularly awesome about Twitter is just how much you can get done while sitting on your patio! The search function is strong and the ability to connect with the next generation of thought leaders is vital. Twitter is a research tool as much as it is a broadcast tool. Smart businesses use this to provide excellent customer care, hire great talent, “listen” to what is being said about their business and of course market their products and services.

A few things your company can do right now:

• Figure out the core facets of your business and learn how to communicate each one in 120 characters or less.

• Use photos and live videos of people having fun. Don’t forget the release form.

• Designate someone in your business to “monitor” twitter for mentions about your company. It’s another customer service channel.

• Understand how URL shortners like http://bit.ly work

• Use twitter to post open positions, upcoming events,  contests and special deals.

Oh and be sure to start following influential people in your area…folks on the news, radio, athletes and @tweet them once in a while. Call me for help.

Video is where it’s at!

YouTube – Video Reigns

YouTube- sure your kids are watching the latest Katie Perry videos here and YouTube can help your business too. There are well over 1 billion videos served up daily. People love quick tips, tours and product releases especially when they can see and hear them. Production quality is not nearly as important as it once was and far less important than immediacy. This means, grab your phone and take some video and share it. Better yet, tag the people in the video so their people see it too (this is more of a Facebook tip).

A few things your company can do immediately:

• Setup a YouTube channel. This will allow you to customize the page so it fits with your brand.

• Have a couple of nice videos created about your venue. Edit them. Talk about who your audience is and what attractions you have for them. Then show the attractions.

• Have a “brainstorming” session about how your company could create fun videos about your product like they did at Blendtec (they got 5.6M views on a blender video). Invite your entire staff.

• Consider a monthly theme that features different aspects of your venue.

• Invest $600 in a DSLR camera, a tripod, some lights and maybe a mic. Want to spend way more on this stuff? That’s easy to do 😉

This One Does it All

Facebook – One Stop Shop

This monster combines all of the aforementioned aspects AND has over 1 Billion users. Facebook can be an absolute nuisance and time-waster or it can be a power tool for your business. It’s a wonderful place to re-connect with your past, dive in deeper with your present and make plans with your future.

Your business will want to:

• Have a branded “public page” that communicates things of interest to your client base.

• Post status updates similar to those on Twitter (they can be longer on Facebook).

• Share the videos you created for YouTube and post photos – Pro tip you are going to want to upload them to both YouTube AND Facebook. Don’t share from YouTube TO Facebook. Google and Facebook don’t like each other.

• Use the “events” to spread information about upcoming events you may host.

• Join groups and like pages that are relevant to your business/industry.

• Have a policy for how your company uses Facebook and all of these tools

This post is already a bit long. But I would be remiss to not mention taking a look at Snapchat, especially if you’re targeting tweens and above and of course Instagram.

How are you using these sites?
What tips would you add to this post?