This is an exciting time for operators who want to get into virtual reality (VR). Today’s technology is significantly better than the options 5-10 years ago, and customers are willing to pay for premium VR experiences.
But what’s the best location-based VR option for your entertainment center? And how can you maximize the attraction’s success? This article will provide you with the insight to ask the right questions and decide which attraction is best for you.
Virtual Reality Options
The virtual reality options in the market exist on a spectrum from arcade to free roam. Free roam is where players are completely untethered and they have the ability to freely walk around an “arena” during the game. These games tend to be longer experiences with a higher price point for customers. On the other hand, arcade VR games are much smaller, players don’t move around, and they are not operated by an employee.
Attractions exist all along this spectrum; some are at the extreme ends, while others live somewhere in between. For reference, Hologate Virtual Reality is a hybrid approach in the middle, between a model like Zero Latency (free roam) and Virtual Rabbids (arcade).
The middle of the spectrum has become a crowded area with a lot of new attractions fighting for market share. Operators tend to be overwhelmed and confused by the options, especially since many of them look alike. But this article will help you consider other factors, as looks can be deceiving.
For a VR attraction to be successful, it has to provide an amazing customer experience. Today’s customers have high expectations, and a mediocre attraction won’t bring in revenue. Every company will claim they have an amazing experience, so you can’t just take their word for it. Play the attraction yourself. It’s the only way to truly understand what the experience is like. If the attraction doesn’t check this box, then it’s not worth considering.
And if a VR vendor can’t give you any locations where you can play their attraction firsthand, maybe that’s a sign. Ask yourself, “why haven’t they done any installs?” Do you really want to be their guinea pig?
Hologate Arena is the number 1 VR platform in the world, with more than 250 installations and 4 million plays. It’s also designed to be an attractive, eye-catching piece for your entertainment center. The open-air layout allows spectators to watch people play and take in the VR action on the monitors above the playing space. This attracts a crowd and many of our clients find that once a line starts, it doesn’t stop.
Some other systems make customers feel self-conscious about spectators watching them because of the awkward game mechanics. They try to solve this by placing the attraction behind a wall, but this limits your customer exposure and your ability to generate revenue. You want a system that’s attractive to look at, with game mechanics that aren’t cumbersome for customers.
“Hologate is one of our top VR attractions. It’s reliable, operator friendly, always busy, and people love the experience. It’s worked so well for us we got a second one!”
Brent Bushnell, Two Bit Circus
Square Footage, Throughput, and Operational Efficiency
Next, you should find out how much square footage an attraction requires and how many customers can play in an hour (throughput). Then you can start calculating potential revenue per square foot and overall ROI. Hologate Arena uses less than 265 square feet and up to 4 people can play at once. With 5 minute games, you can get 30-40+ players an hour. Our clients are averaging 1,500 plays per month, charging anywhere from $6 to $12 per game. This converts to a gross ROI in 6-12 months.
Many of the hybrid VR attractions have a similar approach: a 4-player platform with a small footprint. But this doesn’t mean they can realistically get 30+ players through in an hour. Why? Because operational efficiency is crucial to throughput.
Was the system designed for entertainment venues? How easy is it for a 17-year-old employee to run the attraction? What does the user interface look like?
We started our careers as operators, so we understand what it’s like to be in your shoes. We know the importance of operational efficiency on a busy Saturday, so we worked with Hologate to incorporate features to make your life easier.
Some VR vendors may have extensive knowledge on building virtual worlds and working with hardware. But if they don’t understand the challenges that entertainment venues face, how can they provide a product to solve those challenges?
“We chose Hologate because it is a great experience. It was very easy to install and did not require a room or walls around it to work. We liked that people around the game can see what the players are doing and how they are interacting with the game. The experience sells itself.”
Eddie Hamann, Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
Any successful VR attraction has multiple games. Customers expect options, and having a wide variety of games allows you to target different audiences. But quantity alone isn’t enough. The games must also be high quality, and more importantly, exclusive.
You’ll always have to fight in-home entertainment. You can’t expect to succeed if you offer games that consumers can get at home. Instead, make sure the VR platform you choose has exclusive content that’s only available on that platform.
Hologate Arena has several high quality, exclusive games already. More are in development, with at least 2 new Hologate original games being released every year, along with Hologate Plus titles that include partnerships with movie and game properties like Angry Birds and World of Tanks.
VR is a hot topic in the entertainment industry. Even so, many of your customers haven’t played VR yet, so each game must be designed with a core game-play loop that’s easy to learn, difficult to master, and drives repeat play. Entertainment venues thrive on repeat play, so every game should have core functionality that continues to challenge and excite players.
“Hologate does it all – it provides a completely immersive experience, intense game play for all ages, and with the ongoing content development, will provide playability for years to come.”
Russ Ray, Fast Lane Entertainment
Proven Track Record
The VR industry is a bit like the Wild West right now. There are dozens of new companies that are popping up to try and take advantage of the popularity of this technology. But how long will they last? Can they provide service and support on busy weekends? In what country is the support located?
You need a proven pioneer with hundreds of successful ventures and meaningful experience. At Creative Works, we’ve been helping entertainment venues for more than 20 years. We have a fully staffed support department that offers premium support 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week. This is the kind of service you want for any attraction at your facility.
Plus, we offer an online video training course for your employees. This industry has high turnover due seasonality factors and employees leaving for college or the “real world.” These videos make it easier to train your staff consistently on the right ways to operate the Hologate Arena attraction.
“It was easy for us to choose Hologate. With our previous experience with Creative Works we knew that not only were we choosing a quality VR attraction, but we were choosing a company that has proven support for us. It’s easy to purchase something, [but] it’s a whole other issue when you cannot get the support you need for it.”
Jim Saxe, Putt-Putt FunHouse
This is the perfect time to add a virtual reality experience to your facility. But you can’t just pick a VR platform at random and expect to succeed. You need to know your own business and consider the factors in this article to find the best fit for you.
We’d love to help you determine if Hologate Arena is the right fit for you. You can click here to request a quote. Or, if you’re not ready for a quote just yet, you can download the free report below.
Free Report: The 6 Most Important Questions to Ask When Researching Virtual Reality