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.

Creating A GREAT Online Profile

So many online networking sites and so little time to nurture them all. If you can’t spend the amount of time there, you’d better make sure your profile is doing it’s one job: Attracting your ideal customers. But how do we get flat text to do the heavy lifting?

My 3 most used profiles: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

Talk about “who you are”.

Many of these sites have an area for a “summary”. Most folks summarize their
current work experience and consider this done. Sure that’s a great way to check off the task, but does it really help? No. This is the area where you want to engage the person by showing them who you are. What are your values? Share your thoughts on Fun centers. Answer why did you get into the space. Tell us about your family. Make this interesting and personal. It doesn’t have to be long, but it would be great if it made us feel like we got to know you.

Tell us about “what you do”

This should be an easy one, right? Well, recognize that there are lots of people
who do what you do. How will you make your profile stand out? You need to make sure you are using KEYWORDS. Keywords are the words that people use when “searching” online. Specifically list the types of attractions your family entertainment center offers.

 

An important point to consider- we need to make sure that we are using the
keywords that our industry uses as well as the keywords our clients use.
  Don’t just type FEC or OOHEC. Not everyone knows what those are. Spell out Family Entertainment Center and Out of Home Entertainment Center too. You have to make sure you appear credible to industry insiders and findable by potential clients. 😉

William Butler Yeats said it best- “think like a wise man, but communicate in
the language of the people”.

Photos and Videos

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Well, how many pictures are there in a 1 minute video?? LOTS!!! Make sure you’re sharing imagery of people having fun.

Important to make sure people sign a photo/video release form.

Company or Personal Page?

You are going to want to have both. Depending on the site you may spend more time as one than the other, but you definitely want both. In fact, on both LinkedIn and Facebook you can’t have a company page/profile/place without having a personal one.  Similar rules apply. And the more photos the better. One last thing, don’t be drunk tweeting from your company page thinking it’s your personal one…you’re not the President for crying out loud.

Add Contact Info

You wouldn’t dream of putting your business online without your address so make sure your phone # and e-mail address are there too. This is all about ease of use…making it easy for your prospects to use you!

Its good to have “past life regressions”

Well, maybe they don’t have to be full on regressions, but it is good for people
to get to know about your past life. Why? Because they may have been a part of it.
 I believe that “all business is relationship business”. We had
some really strong relationships with people we are no longer connected to.
Think about that. If you ran into your favorite “cube buddy” from your first
job, your favorite boss from 6 years ago, a college suite mate or whomever, you would likely be able to pick right up on good conversation. Guess what? Some of these folks may be in a position to host an event at you venue.

We have some amazingly strong ties in our past. It would be wise to make sure
those folks can find us and possibly help us in our future.

Hobbies and interests are interesting

Since “all business is relationship business” and relationships are built fastest
around commonality, shall I assume there is no need to write more?

Seriously, take the time to share your passions. You will probably be amazed at what comes from this simple act. It’s a great conversation starter, it can open doors that weren’t previously opened and you may just land your next gig because of it.

I highly endorse being endorsed

Having endorsements (third party recommendations) show up on your profile page is a great way to have others feel good about you. You have earned them, therefore you should feel great about asking for them. If there are people you would feel good about writing them for, do so. You never know, they may write one for you.

It’s also a really good idea to ask for video testimonials from guests. Whether they’ve thrown a HUGE party or were just there for a couple of hours. Try and get as many different types of people to speak about the different attractions as possible.

Your online profiles are where people go to find out about you in the NOW world.

Whether you are meeting a new client, vendor or potential employer, they are checking you out online. What impression will they get?

VR Arcade Management Software

So you’re thinking about opening a Virtual Reality Arcade??

Great idea. It’s going to be the big. Like the biggest thing to hit gaming since Ms. Pac Man. And if you’re working on it now, you’ve still got time to be  ahead of the curve. But there’s a lot to think about (next post will cover all of that). One huge consideration is are you going to run your arcade the right way and make sure the developers get paid? There’s a few arcade management software companies now, but none offer all the value we do.

If you’ve looked around the web at Virtual Reality Arcades, you have likely come across VR Junkies. They were arguably the very first VR Arcade in the United States and they are currently the largest VR Arcade system in North America. I’m partnered with their founders in a venture called Private Label VR where we leverage that software and the knowledge they’ve gained to create a business in a box offering. Click that link to learn how we can help you get your new VR Arcade business up and rocking.

So how does this software help you manage your Virtual Reality Arcade? Let me tell you about some of the features and why you care:

The Game Clock– If you’re running an arcade this is bound to be your favorite feature. Why? Because when the game clock is running, the cash register is ringing. There’s something about seeing the clock get closer to zero while you’re in a game about to advance to the next level that compels one to yell “I NEED MORE TIME”. And your response is: we can do that 😉

As the clock runs down, the profits go up.

The Game Metrics- This feature shows you which games were played and for how long. There are approximately 800 titles (VERY rough count) on the main source for VR games on Steam. If you think about the last time you were presented with 800+ options for anything…how long did it take you to make a decision? We track all of the game metrics across our multiple locations and provide you with the most popular games network wide. This assures that your customers are playing as opposed to thinking about playing. This feature also helps us where it counts the most…

You’ll always know which games are hot and which games are not.

Game Licensing- There will be another post about running a LEGAL VR Arcade soon and that all comes down to licensing. You can’t just download some games and have people pay for them…that’s not how this works. Game developers spend upwards of millions of $$$s to put these experiences together and they deserve to get paid. THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE of our software is how we make this so easy for you. And as you can guess, the developers love us as a result.

In Goggle Game Selector- This feature makes it super easy for your customers to choose what game they want to play and what they’ll want to play next. This is great because it reduces staffing needs.

It’s so easy to select a game that even the player can do it.

Rewards Portal- UCLA did a study and found that 62% of people who entered a VR Arcade wanted to come back with in the month. And most of them brought someone new with them. You want to reward this behavior and we make it really easy to do so with our integrated rewards program.

Leader Board- This is fun because people love to see how they’re doing against all of the other gamers. You can set up the leader board to be just your arcade(s) or for the entire network. It reminds me of Donkey Kong…how high will you get?

Dashboard- This is the snapshot of your account. You can see game play and you can also see how much the expenses are for people playing those games. This is the “Fun with numbers” section of the software.

There are a few other attributes in the current iteration and quite a few more coming in do time. Our goal is to make it easier for you to focus on running and growing your business. Speaking of…we are always happy to help you with that too. Feel free to reach out to me about your VR arcade needs whenever.