The Codex

So you want to start a VR Arcade?

With the proliferation of VR, entrepreneures are saddling up to join the industry at a break neck pace. Just in the past year in the US alone, it went from roughly around 60 VR arcades to about 120 and growing every month it seems.

With this said, there are a number of obstacles one will face in getting things up and running. The list I have created below only covers what you need to consider after you have a good business plan and cash flow statement figured out. I'm assuming that has been completed but if not, feel free to give us a call and we can help you with that. So, without further ado, here is my list of 9 things to consider when setting up a VR arcade. 

 

1) Make sure you have a good ratio of stations to expected income to create sustainability.

The consensus is if you want good sustainability based on venue size and projected income to cover overhead, a minimum of 6-8 stations is a great start. Which from previous comments you have. If you can do more then do. Heads in headsets means revenue.

2) Fabric or movable walls.

As you expand, you will want to scale to accommodate. Fixed walls limit this and could potentially pigeon-hole you which is not good. Also, if you are going with anything using the Vive lighthouses, ensure you have proper containment to prevent sensor overlap from other stations. Also too much light can effect the sensors too so keep that in mind. 

3) Make it social.

You want as many watchers as you can get as this helps to promote what people are having fun with in-house. One of the biggest problems with VR is that it's very hard to explain in just words and videos. When people can see reactions in connection to the content, spectators get a better sense of how much fun it can actually be short of doing it themselves. Ultimately this helps with upsells.

4) Content is very important.

Don't just put any game in for the sake of having VR. You want good fun experiences because just like when you go to the grocery store, you don't want cheap food as it will put you off and you wont buy it again. It should be engaging, fun, and easy to learn if a short amount of time. Usually experiences you can do in no more that 15 mins. If experiences are longer, you should market those to groups and parties or special cases where the customer wants a singular experience whether multiplayer or single.

5) The experience starts at the door and ends when they leave.

Your venue and staff should be trained and set so when a customer walks in the door, their experience with VR starts there. Being courteous, and informative will go along way to bring the customer back. Even if the game they play is meh, the experience they get being there will ultimately be the deciding factor that brings them back. Environment experience is really what your selling not the games. The goal of a VR arcade is the give the customer something they can't get at home.

6) Marketing is king.

You really need to put yourself out there in the community because people wont buy what they don't know about. For foot traffic, posters & signage for them. From afar, social media, your local Chamber of Commerce, and even radio are top. Also, posting videos of customer experiences on a youtube channel AND Facebook will be instrumental in getting people excited about what you offer. Printed material is also important such as business cards, brochures and if possible, newsletters emailed (build an email list from customers) to keep them in the know and nurture them to come back and bring friends.

7) Have replacement equipment on-hand.

You never know when a overly excited player breaks a controller or a BeatSaber fanatic sweats up a headset. You want to be able to replace quickly because a down station is equipment not able to make money.

8) Wire management.

This is a huge one and often overlooked. Replacing cables are a pain so make sure you cable is out of the way and not getting too twisted up. There are a lot of overhead cable management options out there so look into that.

9) Batteries a plenty.

Having plenty of batteries on hand is a ,must. Invest in rechargeable batteries so you can switch out the ones you have while others are charging. This will keep you ahead of the game and lower the cost over time although costly initially. Trust me it's worth it.

 

Although this list isn't very comprehensive, ever current owner that is successful had to consider these issues. Good luck on your venture and remember we are all in this industry together.

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