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!

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.

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.