Best Location-Based VR for Entertainment Venues
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 location-based VR experiences.
But what’s the best 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, such as in Limitless. These games tend to be longer experiences with a higher price point for customers. On the other hand, arcade VR games like VAR BOX and SpongeBob SquarePants VR: Dynamic Duo 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.
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 location-based 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?
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.
For example, check out Limitless, which was recently a Brass Ring Award winner at IAAPA 2022. Limitless offers multiple size formats for up to 16 players, making it the highest capacity free-roam VR on the market, and it features an open air design with large TV displays to create a spectacle that catch the eye of every guest and encourages them to join the action.
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. SpongeBob SquarePants VR: Dynamic Duo uses just over 80 square feet and 2 people can play at once. With 4 minute games, you can get 20-30+ players an hour, at $5 per play. Many operators have seen SpongeBob VR quickly become the top earner in their arcades.
It’s important to ask yourself these types of questions: 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 work with our developers 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?
Any successful location-based 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 and an experience they can’t get with in-home VR options.
Hyperdeck has several high quality, exclusive games already and includes immersive motion, wind, and heat effects that are unlike anything else. In fact, we recently added another incredible game to the fold with Die Zombies, which brings phrenetic zombie-slaying action to the older kids and adults at your venue, in addition to existing games like Dream Savers and HAIR which appeal to all ages.
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.
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.
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 which VR option 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.