VR for Family Entertainment Centers — Three Factors for Success
What makes a VR attraction profitable? At Exit Reality, we’ve identified three major factors to success with VR — family friendly content, curb appeal, and turnkey infrastructure.
Family Friendly is Key
Offering family friendly content makes strategic sense for FECs and arcades chiefly due to customer demographics.
According to IAAPA’s 2018 benchmark report, guests aged 3–11 years old were the highest percentage of FEC guests this year, followed by 25–48 year old parents & other guests. In SpringboardVR’s 2018 VR Arcade survey, 93% of profitable arcades reported that families and kids were their primary customer base.
While shooter games are excellent draws for the teen and adult crowd, a VR station should be balanced with content suitable for younger audiences.
Beat Saber, a popular game that challenges players to hit musical beats to the rhythm of music, is a great example of family friendly content and has a high replay value. Beat Saber is available to play in the X Arc and the X Pod, which now has mixed reality capability built in by LIV so friends, family, and spectators can see gamers in physical reality and virtual reality.
Offering family friendly demos like Beat Saber increases the likelihood customers will pay for a longer experience.
It’s well known that the best marketing for VR is getting customers into headsets for the first time. In our article, 5 Tips for Using VR in a Family Entertainment Center, we shared insight from Scott Benjamin, GM of Xdrenaline trampoline park in Atlanta, who’s had frequent sales success offering free samples of ‘Richie’s Plank Experience’.
It’s important to consider what barriers may prevent kids or parents from trying VR for the first time — namely, content with violence or jump scares. Although action games like ‘Arizona Sunshine’ are a smash hit with older audiences, marketing family-friendly games like ‘Kikoriki’ will generate more sales. Head to Exit Reality’s premium content page and look under ‘Available on the X Arc’ and ‘Family Friendly’ to find more content suitable for all ages.
A wide range of content opens your sales channels to broader markets.
Many VR Arcades keep busy on weekdays by marketing themselves as Community Spaces, using VR to create activities and packages surrounding the Arts, Education, and Business. Need ideas? Try using ‘Tilt Brush’ to offer a Painting and Arts night, ‘Google Earth’ to host a unique educational after-school club or a multiplayer challenge like Smashbox Arena for corporate team building exercises. Educational events in particular are great ways to reach your main demographic during the week, and there are even government grants available to businesses providing education to their community.
Curb Appeal — Think “Spectacle”
To get the most out of your VR attraction, you want to make a spectacle out of it. This means beautiful infrastructure with bright lights and branding, visible players moving around in active gameplay, and spectator screens that show what's going on in the headset.
“In the end, theme parks and resorts are locations for spectacles. Only a few of the guests are actually interested in participating in most of the rides, but everyone wants to watch the few who do. If you can create a VR attraction that people want to look at, and feel just as much joy looking at is as they do playing it, you have won the game.” — Eric J. O’Rourke, Director of Resorts at FORREC
The highest return at an amusement park or ticketed FEC is the food and beverage, so a VR attraction that draws a crowd will earn a significant ROI if strategically placed near restaurants, bars, and concession stands. The longer people stay to watch, the more they’ll buy.
Turn Key Infrastructure
Investing in a fully packaged VR attraction that handles infrastructure, support, and content services allow you to focus on your business plan and marketing while experts manage the tech. Our last article, Virtual Reality in FECs and Arcades: The Benefits of Turnkey Solutions, takes an in-depth look at what businesses benefit most from turnkey infrastructure and the reasons why.
We found that turnkey solutions are the best option for established FECs and arcades. We defined ‘established’ as having an anchor attraction (laser tag, trampoline, bowling, etc.), proven marketing channels, and consistent customer flow. The quality of safety, reliability, and aesthetics received in a turnkey solution is the best fit for businesses with a brand to uphold and resources to do so. If you need to differentiate your park or stand out in a high-end environment like a mall, turnkey is the way to go.
Using turnkey means an end-to-end solution, transferring risk and responsibility onto a company that works off years of research, expert design, and a deep understanding of VR.
Chances are if you’re running a business, you don’t have time to wrangle the ins and outs of new technology. The process of researching, building, and integrating a VR unit is extensive and involved, and if you’re new to the technology you’re going to have a hard time with DIY infrastructure. When you take into consideration time lost researching and building, expensive mistakes, calling in contractors for assistance and more — in a lot of cases you don’t actually save money.
Having a team of experts at your disposal is the best benefit of using a turnkey service.
The level of support provided will vary from company to company, but with Exit Reality you get technical, business, and marketing support. Our FEC and arcade units are designed and fabricated in the USA, so the actual engineers are on hand to provide support including phone support, repairs, and updates to your hardware. We offer free consultations for boosting revenue, will work with you to help market your attractions, and are always ready to cross-promote on our popular marketing channels
If you’re researching VR for your business, contact Exit Reality today for a free consultation. We’ve serviced a wide range of customers with different business models and locations, and we pride ourselves on being experts on VR in the LBE space. Our services include turnkey infrastructure (materials and set up), VR content management, sales and marketing support, and more. Our team is happy to talk with you about your ideas for a VR attraction in your business and to answer any questions.
Phone: (415) 391–7500