FAQs About Opening or Starting a VR Arcade

I’ve been speaking with a lot of people who are looking at opening a VR Arcade and That. Is. Awesome.

The more conversations I have, the more I hear the same questions. When I was coaching people about their “content strategy” they would always say “I don’t know what to write about”. I would tell them, “Write the answers to your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). So without further adieu, here are 12 things you need to know…


The first thing you need to consider is what sort of VR Arcade will you be opening? Will it just have headsets and allow people to play games on the HTC Vive or will you offer something people can’t get at home like this?

This is a VR Pod from China
9D VR Experience…Not necessary for opening IMHO

I must admit this is a bit of a trick question in my mind. As it stands today 99+% of the population has neither of these things at home. So for now, either is the right answer. My suggestion is start simple and be prepared to add to it. People will be blown away by what’s available in the Vive today. And with all of the available experiences you can start by opening a smaller arcade and use that money to invest in opening one with fancier technology.


I know you’re busy thinking about the point above. Once you figure that out, you’ll have a better idea on how to answer this. In short, a typical “Vive Booth” requires a minimum of 8 feet by 8 feet (2.5 m x 2.5 m). If you have a little more space, all the better. (Check out this post about VR Arcade Design). You will also need room for some seating, check in and a lobby. So a very small arcade will be at least 800 square feet (250 sq meters). If you want to add the pods like pictured above or get into free roam experiences (see below: computer in a backpack so it’s portable VR) you will need WAY more space.

This is What Fun Looks Like
Standard HTC Vive booths at VR Junkies


You’re going to have costs associated with the technology (hardware, software, TVs, tablets, cabling, etc.) installation, design and construction of your space, rent, game fees, license fees, furniture, marketing and employees. Sounds fun, right? Some of these costs are 1 time charges and don’t amount to that much. Other charges are ongoing. Game licensing for instance…the more successful your arcade is, the more you will have to pay. Not a horrible problem to have. I’ll tell you what, I’ll write a more detailed post on costs if anyone asks.

When I was researching building out an arcade here in Detroit I had budgeted $70,000 to get the build out, equipment, software and have a bit of a cushion. If I didn’t get any business in the first 45 days, I wouldn’t have to worry about the 3rd month. I would have been closed up. Curious about learning from the other VR Arcade owners. How much did you budget for your opening?


I’ve written extensively on the importance of pricing so just click that link to read more. In short, we charge $1.00 a minute and give price breaks for an hour.  That post also has a currency converter and a lot of rationale. Check it out.


Your single best source of marketing is going to be the people who are in your arcade. Make it easy for them to promote you. Get yourselves listed on all of the cool social media channels. Come up with a short and memorable #. Encourage them to share photos and videos of themselves and their friends playing. Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising there is. Added bonus…it can be the cheapest.  Offer people 5 minutes of free play (on their next visit) for tagging your space.  Want more insight on marketing, check out This Post.


There are sooooooo many games. Like just so many. To say there are 1000 is an understatement. What’s even crazier is that for every game that exists there are probably 2 being developed right now. Here’s the truth…some games suck (that’s a technical term). They’re just not worth it. You need to make sure that your customers are offered a great gaming experience so it’s important to have access to some good data. We offer over 70 experiences through our licensing portal and continue to add top shelf experiences every week.  Click that link to learn more.

Make sure you have this game at opening
XorteX in the Lab is my fav VR experience.


Speaking of licensing, this is a HUGELY important consideration. You can’t just go to steam, buy/download a game and then sell it in your VR Arcade. You have to license it from the developer. Yes, you could go to each and every developer and ask them to license their games to you. Or you could partner with someone who has already done that. See that link above in games 😉


Did you ever see the movie The Field of Dreams? There was a line repeated throughout…”If you build it they will come”.  While many VR Arcade owners really want this to be true, that doesn’t mean it will be 🙁

If you’re not going to be in a location that has or is near significant foot traffic, you had better have a tremendous marketing budget. If you don’t have one or the other, this may not be the endeavor for you. Your space will need to be clean, accessible and a place that people will want to come. Think about opening in a mall or partnering with a place that already has lots of foot traffic. Some people are starting off by offering mobile VR Arcades. They’ll bring the gear to you. Maybe that’s a good starting point for you too?


To franchise or not franchise…that is this question. There’s pros and cons of both. A good franchise system will have all of the pieces in place for you to simply copy and paste your way into success.  But, you have to follow their rules and do things the way they want them done. This limits the creativity. Maybe that’s perfect if you’re not a creative type. Hmmmm

Here’s the deal, if you have your own brand already you may not want to franchise. If you don’t have one…maybe it will work out better. Check out VR Junkies for starters.


Software can help you automate so many processes that will save you time, energy and staff once you have your grand opening. It would be worth it to research now. We are pretty proud of the software we have built and are continually making improvements. My favorite part is that we handle the game licensing for you. See above.

Our Software tracking game plays & more


There are a few VR experiences that are mobile. Not like throw the equipment in the van and drive around mobile, but pack it up in a back pack and be able to move around in an Arena Scale version. IF this is what you’re thinking about opening, it is a whole different kettle of virtual fish. In fact, it’s a bit out of my league so I can’t really offer much advice, but am happy to discuss the pros and cons. What I know for sure is it requires much bigger space, more expensive equipment and way more expensive licensing/franchising fees.

Thinking about opening one of these?
Arena Scale VR…Look mom, no strings


This is a question that always comes up. I can only speak for electrical here in the U.S. but there isn’t any fancy demands at all. Just typical outlets work fine. You will need a total of 5 outlets per booth. The Vive, The Computer, The TV and 2 Lighthouses. The lighthouses are normally diagonal from each other so you will need to keep that in mind. Get yourself a power strip with a surge protector for the computer, vive and TV and you should be all set.

Didn’t get enough from this post? Check out 5 More Things VR Arcade Owners Must Consider. It’s part 2 of the original post I wrote a few months back. Some of what is in those posts is covered here, but with a different take on it.

Are there questions you have that didn’t get answered? Ask away.

Want to talk to me directly, find me on Skype as trybean or send me an e-mail.

Be sure to check out our Facebook Page for all kinds of VR and a little bit of AR information.

Wow…this was long. Are you still here?

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here 😉

Difference in VR headsets

Today we talk about VR headsets.

It drives me nuts that what someone experiences while wearing a Google Cardboard or a Samsung GearVR is called the same thing as if they were wearing an HTC Vive.

Newsflash people, they’re not even in the same league.

The 1975 AMC Gremlin of VR
This is the Chevy Impala of Virtual Reality.
This is the Maserati of VR

To point out the differences I employ a pair of “boats”, a Saturn Vue and a Maserati. You might be able to see where this is going already. In any respect give the video a quick look:

Once you’ve tried the HTC Vive (and it’s likely true for the Oculus Rift, I haven’t experienced it yet) it’s hard to go back to phone driven VR. In fact, can’t we all agree that we have to stop calling bone phone driven and computer driven VR? So not the same thing.

This is when a blog post turns into a mild rant.

Tucks soapbox neatly under the desk and returns you to your previous activities.

Welcome and Initial thoughts on Virtual Reality

It’s fitting that this is our first post as it is effectively my “getting” into VR story. There’s a lot of links to some really cool videos in here and my hope is you’ll know more about VR than you did or at least that you will enjoy the time spent on in our world. This blog post appeared first in a different form on my personal blog on 4/20/2016.

I’ve had a great time coaching and consulting with several individuals and companies over the years. I’ve had an even better time being on stages in front of these same folks delivering messages of inspiration, motivation and strategies for growth. In all of these scenarios I’ve helped people recognize opportunities when they see them.

When it comes to industries with yuuuuge growth potential, few come close to Virtual and Augmented Reality ($30B and $150B respectively by 2021). When a door opened in November, 2016 to get into the space, I popped my head in. As I learned more about it, I found myself wanting to learn more about it. What I found was potential that is only limited by one’s imagination and budget. If you’re interested in a fairly quick, get you up-to-speed primer, check out this great video on the history and almost present of VR (the video was made in 2015 before the REALLY BIG changes).

On the off chance you didn’t watch the video (and even if you did) allow me to share some of my favorite VR applications.

Training and Learning: these are huge opportunities and what I really love is how your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and virtual reality. What that means is that for dangerous and repetitive tasks vr simulations will soon be the only way to train. This VR training being done in the oil rig industry right now is a shining example.

Real Estate: you have a buyer who wants to see a dozen homes on a Saturday? What used to take all day and was filled with disappointment, can be accomplished in under an hour. It’s really cool what’s being done in this space. Look at this Virtual Tour developed with Matterport and Google Earth.

Working with soldiers who suffer from PTSD: it’s been said that war is basically 98% waiting for stuff to happen and 2% WTF just happened. It’s that 2% that leaves mental scars because people who go through it have a hard time properly processing that experience. And when these memories come up, they are so painful that the only act is to repress them. We know that is not the way to work through an issue. VR allows soldiers to go back through these scenes in their life and talk about exactly what they were experiencing. It’s amazing.

Tourism: This is big. So big. Why? Because as travel gets more expensive it cuts down the number of people who can experience these destinations in person. With VR, you can be anywhere you want to be and your brain won’t know the difference. Check out this cool VR Experience in Hamilton Island, Australia (you can control what direction you look by using your mouse or finger) We are definitely looking to work in this space.

Gaming: Gaming is the gateway to everything above. It’s also where our company is cutting our teeth. We have built Arcade Management Software to help Virtual Reality Arcades run more efficiently. We can learn a lot more about that at our website.

What I’m doing in the space

As of 4/20/17 I’m working on getting Family Entertainment Centers setup with this amazing new attraction. We’re working with bowling alleys, laser tag facilities, jump zones, movie theaters, traditional arcades and more in the “Out of Home Entertainment” space. It’s been a blast. Mostly because these places are all about fun. You know who likes fun??? This guy!!!

Last month our team went to Transworld, the largest Haunt and Halloween expo on the planet. Why? Because we’ve got a killer haunted VR experience. It’s going to be in quite a few places October. Maybe you’ll get to check one out. Be sure to look at our Facebook Page for some entertaining videos.

I’m also working with a large cruise line to bring this experience to their guests and ports they travel. The one area that I didn’t mention earlier is medical. That’s one space I continue to explore and try to find the right “in” for. It’s one of the most promising areas and smart Doctors are already using VR for training, diagnosis and collaboration. It’s big time.  Take a look at this medical training happening in VR.

So I have some questions for you…

Have you tried VR? Either the phone kind or the real kind with an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift? If yes, what did you think of it. If no, when will you?

Are you interested in keeping up with VR? If so, check out our Facebook Page where we share ALL kinds of updates about the industry.

Thanks for taking a look at this. I’m looking forward to connecting with you soon.

Terry Bean

Director of Business Development

Terry Bean in HTC Vive