5 Things VR Arcade Owners Must Consider

Do you have or are you thinking about opening a VR Arcade?

It’s a good choice. And now is a WAYYYY better time to get into it than three years from now. I appreciate that you’re thinking about being on the front line. We want you to succeed. And being that we are sister company to the largest and oldest VR Arcade group in the United States, we think we know a little bit about what we’re discussing.

This post became kinda long kinda quickly so now it’s part one of two posts.

With that in mind, here are 10 Things you need to consider with your VR Arcade.

Biggest Key In ALL Real Estate

1. Location Location Location

Let’s face it, your VR Arcade is totally bound by the real estate that surrounds it. If you’re place is in a dark, dingy alley are people really going to show up…or less likely drop off their kids? Of course not.

The key to your success is going to be foot traffic. You need to be somewhere people are already going. A popular shopping mall is a great place. But it can be super expensive to lease space. A nice strip mall near a big grocery store might be ideal. Alternatively maybe you can rent some square footage from a place that already offers entertainment…think movie theaters, bowling alleys, laser tag facilities, jump zones or other.

Know the key play times and make sure your location allows you to be open.

2. Hours of Operation

This doesn’t seem that important until you look at play rates and realize you’re paying someone to stand there all morning. This means that you have more employees than customers in your space at certain times during the day. You certainly have to work with the hours of your surroundings a bit. We’ve seen time and time again that play picks up when people aren’t in school. This isn’t to say only teenagers play, but there is some corollary.

Make sure your requirements are clear and reasonable.

3. How to hire the right folks

As the Director of Business Development here, I have interesting insights into the Virtual Reality Arcade space. And I wanted a piece of it too. But I don’t have time to be an owner operator so I would have to hire a manager. I thought I found the perfect guy…a teacher who LOVES VR. He has a vive. He’s good with people. He’s patient.  In speaking with my guys, that’s not the profile. You want someone who is highly efficient. Capable of answering questions politely, but won’t take more time than necessary. In short, you want a sales guy whose compensation is tied to the bottom line.

For hourly workers you want people who are reliable, people friendly and who are looking for 20 hours a week, max. Hire a few and figure out which ones work best for you.

So Many Choices for your VR Arcade!!!

4. Which games to let people choose

As of this writing there are over 500 unique Virtual Reality experiences for the HTC Vive. Can you imagine sifting through each one to see what you’d want to play? Now imagine doing that knowing you’re being charged for every minute.

You’re best bet it to partner with a company that helps make game selection a super easy choice for you/your clients based on the statistics they’ve collected. Hmmmmm I wonder what company might do such a thing. Oh, that’s right…We do!

Is it 4 or 6 or 10 booths for your VR Arcade??

5. How many booths are right for you?

We talk to people all the time who want to start with either 10 booths or 1 booth. Let me tell you, both are probably ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re in a busy area with lots of foot traffic, you can likely keep 10 filled for a good chunk of a Saturday. But what about Monday-Thursday??

If you’ve got the space, capital and foot traffic, buying 10 is certainly better than buying 1. 1 is bad because what happens when someone books the hour and someone else wants to play? They will never be back.

So this post is the primer to give you something think about and it became a bit long. I will be addressing five more things you MUST think about on this blog next. Here are those five:

6. How you will market
7. Arcade management software
8. Are you going to operate legally
9. How do you get more referral business

10. What will you charge?

Let me know what thoughts, questions or ideas you have. Thanks!

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