Oranges to Apples – What Makes Us Different
In a world full of diversity and uniqueness, there are some that want to try and provide an “Apples to Apples” comparison between their product and ours. This has been going on for years and many have been led astray by this ideology that such a comparison can exist and therefore all things are equal. It has always been our mission to deliver the WOW effect and provide a unique and engaging experience in our attractions that can’t be found elsewhere.
It is the beginning and end of what we strive for when a guest enters and departs your facility. It is those memories that last in a guests’ mind.
When it comes to laser tag, we know that the average player is typically 7 to 14 years old with the median age around 9. We understand they like to play games where they can compete with their friends. They are smart and quick to learn. They understand options and look for variables to keep the experience ever-changing. They also want instant gratification and feedback, rewards for their achievements, and have a passion to get extra features or enhancements as add-ons to the games they play. They are computer literate with many having phones, computers, tablets, or other types of media devices. They enjoy going to the movies and seeing films with heroes and villains filled with action and excitement.
Additionally, they like to be part of the action, whether it’s role playing with their friends or playing games on their game consoles in their home. This is what excites and drives them, and this is what we provide in our laser tag experiences. We have taken the vanilla arenas of the past and turned them into sundaes through our unique ability to create storylines and props that connect with the youth of today and appeal to the kid inside every adult.
Your target demographic and the adults of today can relate to Marvel comic movies – the Hulk, Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America and more. The world has seen and embraced 3D technology through the movie Avatar and has witnessed the undeniable success of this film because of the story, the atmosphere and the technology behind its creation.
The Star Wars films have graced the screens for over 3 decades and are now being remade to be released yet again in the theatres. The elaborate movie sets, characters and stories from these epic films are ingrained in our culture and have driven this billion dollar empire into the minds of all.
The Star Trek franchise has seen countless success as well as many others like the Indiana Jones films, the Lara Croft films, and more.
Today’s video games for the Playstation and Xbox consoles have become very sophisticated to keep up with the demands of today’s youth. These games are generated in high definition and they are extremely immersive. As a player in many of these top rated games – you are walking around in an environment that is full of Hollywood like props and pieces, tagging other opponents or characters, getting points and rewards, rising up in the levels, and accomplishing objectives to unlock new features, screens and missions. A few have even been released in 3D to make the game “come alive” and be compatible with the new 3D televisions that are starting to make their way in homes. As the thirst for more interaction within these games grows and the price of 3D televisions drops, you’ll see the trend of movies and games being released in 3D grow rapidly. Already many of the games to be released in the months to come are being made with 3D capabilities for those with this technology to enjoy.
If we take a page out of history and look back to see forward, it’s easy to see the writing on the wall. Our kids are growing up in a world that is much more immersive and connected. The internet has bridged the gap to many places and made our world a smaller place. Additionally, our society has become one where time has become a commodity. With less time in our days to have fun (more school, more work, more chores, and more of the things we have to do and most likely don’t like to do at times), we are making decisions that drive the need and want to have experiences that offer the most “bang for our buck and time” now. In the realm of laser tag, we strive to put the “extra” in the “ordinary” created by others to ensure your guests are creating lasting memories and connecting with the game and environment around them. This connection is what will help drive repeat play and better bottom line results to your balance sheet.
Some say that laser tag is just a sport and should be treated as such with arenas built to reflect more of a court-like feel with brightly colored plastics. We would argue that in the mind of your target customer that laser tag is not a sport but an experiential game they can’t play at home. Kids don’t go to a laser tag arena thinking they are participating in a sport; rather they understand that the game itself is an extension of what they are doing in a virtual sense on their video game consoles at home.
Laser tag “could” be considered a sport if you think of it from the “experienced” players perspective. They are there to compete at an intense level against others similar to themselves. To put this in perspective though, this is one of the smallest segments you’ll attract to your site. They are price sensitive and serious about winning at all costs. As a result, they will be very physical with your equipment, your facility and one another when participating in games. They will be “regulars” but not in a good way if mixed with the other 93% who play the laser tag game and see it more as an experience than a sport. While we have seen some sites have marginal success with a program like this, the return yielded as a percent of your overall business is very small.
“Regulars” are not your target customers
Designing a playing field to look like a sport court to appeal to “regulars” doesn’t give you any great lasting benefits in our changing economy. When designing our immersive fields, we implore a method called Strategic NODE Alignment. This allows maximum playing space for safety, exiting, ADA compliance, balance, decision pathways and more.
It starts out with a grid overlay for your space and builds from there until we are satisfied with the end result and it meets our standards for optimal field construction as well as your approval. Each NODE is a point within an arena made up of barriers and props designed for a specific location that provides refuge and additional pathways for players to move around, beside, and through. In turn this helps to provide a more experiential-style game play and encourage maximum arena coverage and safety for participants. In the end, it means more props and pieces than what is typically provided elsewhere, set-up with purpose and meaning for optimal player satisfaction while being immersive and unique.
Research shows that if you put two things of similarity next to each other for someone to choose between, you will find that they will most likely pick the one they believe is better. Building on the premise that our economy has become experience-driven in nature, you would find players migrating toward the adventurous arena styles versus the sport arena styles.
To put it in “grown up terms”; as an adult if you were given the choice to drive one of two cars, let’s say a Volkswagen and a Porsche, the vast majority of us would choose the Porsche every time. Yes – they both will get you from point A to B, but the Porsche ride will be far more fun and memorable. More importantly, when your target demographic plays games on any of the media devices mentioned before, they are driving something exotic, fast and “furious”; not a Volkswagen. People in general including the kids that play laser tag and participate in other attractions will typically choose the one thing they can’t get elsewhere if given the opportunity.
What’s important to put in perspective is that if you build it they may come at first – but if you don’t provide a memorable experience, great service and reliable equipment they may find another alternative to you. In the past year, we have seen a spike in the number of renovation projects we’ve done for locations that have had other laser tag arenas and looks. Operators in the field have seen what has happened to their businesses overtime and they are changing with the market to remain competitive in our experience economy. Staying ahead of the curve and being able to identify and respond nimbly to the market and your demographic is what will keep you in the running to build a successful business.
With over 33,000 square feet of design, production, and showroom space, we have built our company by staying ahead of the curve and offering solutions that will keep you ahead of others in your marketplace. While others just subcontract out their work, we have grown our capabilities to develop things in house and provide solutions that evolve as the market evolves.
At the end of the day – you nor we – are the target customer, but over the past decade, through research and change, we have come to understand what they want and the trends taking shape in the future. Although there are many tangible differences between our product and others, it is the “WOW” factor and the resulting benefits it has that separates the Orange in us from all the apples on the tree.