So this part two of a blogpost that would have been waaaayyyyyyy too long for one post. If you want to see the first five things I suggest, you should click over to 5 Things VR Arcade Owners Must Consider.
Since the list isn’t in any specific order you can stay here and read these five first:
6. How you will market your VR Arcade
It doesn’t really matter what your business is…you have GOT TO figure out how you will let the public know about it. Virtual Reality Arcades have it easy. Why? Because it’s sooooo visual. There are plenty of cool pix and great videos already on the web. As if that wasn’t enough you can always create new content every time a new customer comes in (be sure to get them to sign the video release form).
Setup a YouTube channel. Make sure you have a Facebook place/page setup. Instagram and Snapchat can both be great vehicles to gain exposure for your new attraction as well. Make sure you have an e-mail newsletter and SMS Marketing solution too. I could go on, but you should check out this post about Social Media Mastery for FECs for now.
7. VR Arcade Management Software
VR Arcade Management Software can be something as simple as a “Game Clock” and as complicated as the tracking of each play by game, by booth, by day and making sure the developers are paid for their work. That last part is important and will be the reason some VR Arcades get shut down…not paying their game licensing fees. A good software can also provide you with a leaderboard, a rewards program, an in goggle game selector and more. Actually, if you want to check out a good VR Arcade Management Software, you could just click that link. We’ve got you covered.
8. Are you going to operate your VR Arcade legally?
This is just between us. You don’t have to answer or comment, but you do need to think about this…seriously. IF you are running a VR Arcade and NOT paying for the minutes that your customers rack up you are doing one of two things:
1. You’re only offering your customers FREE experiences which is better than nothing, but certainly not giving them the best available.
2. You are cheating the system.
Video Games are a lot like movies. You can’t just go to best buy, pick up a blue ray disk and then start selling tickets to people to come watch. Go read point #7 again about how our software helps with licensing.
9. How do you get more referral business
The single best way to get more referrals is to ask for them. When do you ask? When people are at the height of excitement. AKA right after they finish their time having a blast in your place. But here’s the thing, it’s awkward to be like “can you refer 10 of your friends who might like to come play”. An easier approach is to encourage people to share their experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others. Simply have them write a post and tag themselves at your location and give them a pretzel, or a cookie, or 3 tokens or 2 minutes of VR or whatever you want. You will be amazed at how often people do this. Especially if you give them their “gift” on their next visit. See what we did there?
Oh yeah, and of course our software has a rewards program…see point 7.
10. What will you charge for your VR Arcade?
Man, isn’t this the $100 question on the list? Well, maybe not $100, but like $60…for an hour. I can’t tell you what to charge but hopefully I can give you some ideas. VR Junkies, our sister company and largest VR Arcade group in the U.S. charges $1.00 a minute and $45.00 an hour if they buy in bulk. I’ve heard of other groups charging $25.00 for an 8 minutes experience and I’ve seen places do $10 for 20 minutes. You’ve really got to know your demographics. It makes sense to set your price and give people 2 for 1 time for their first experience. That way you’ve set your value AND rewarded the early adopters. It’s always easy to lower your prices…raising them is another story.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.