Updated: May 25, 2018
By now you have probably heard the buzz about Virtual Reality and likely even considered adding it to your facility. While VR can make an excellent addition, there are a few rookie mistakes to look out for. Having worked with various family entertainment centers and facilities throughout the US, we thought we would share a few of the most common and costly mistakes owners make when adding VR to their lineup.
Lack of Great Content
If you have ever played VR, you know just how amazing and addicting the experience can be. You want people coming back to your facility often and VR can provide your customers with endless variation and options. The key to keeping people coming back is having excellent content. Games with great replay-ability, multiplayer options, and exceptional game play experience can be one of your greatest assets to driving up your return rate. Every park is different and every facility will have different customers and local customer behavior. In our partner facilities throughout the country, we have seen large variations in game play behavior, and every location will have its own set of top titles. It is for this reason that we have worked so hard to grow and expand our collection of top VR titles. With our current library of over 130 licensable games and experiences, we have something for any audience. You know your customers best and it is key that you have content available that will keep them entertained and wanting more.
Processes and customer flows are what make your facility work. You know as well as anyone that without having systems in place to manage the traffic, your weekends would be unmanageable. Customers want to get as much time in VR as possible and don't want to have to wait around due to disorganized and chaotic processes. Even after the customer is in the headset, there are other items that can be concerning. For one, with the current default system settings, the customer has access to your computer and account, which is a major security concern. There are also additional settings that can be confusing and gives no way for customers to know how long they have been playing or how much time they have left. When we started our first VR Arcade, we had the same challenges. After many painful weekends, we put the systems in place to easily manage a play queue, allow the customer to view their play time, and even select games on their own without needing employee intervention. Our new systems became a game changer, as it now allows us to manage the whole process on a tablet and keep things moving seamlessly.
Lackluster and Permanent Layout
People love the anticipation of doing something that looks cool. We know that VR is going to impress, but it is key that the buildout is both functional and exciting. Many facilities will build out full walls made from wood, sheetrock, or curtains. Each of these walls have their own advantages and disadvantages, but none of them are great final solutions. The way the VR systems work, curtains can allow bleed through which cause interference across booths and rarely have the polished look and feel you are after. The hard material walls will block the bleed through but can be really hard on controllers. We have seen a bit of everything at our facilities. People will punch walls and even try to run through them during a good zombie chase. After a bit of trial and error in our own VR arcade, we designed our aluminum truss full builds, which not only look cool but offer the best functionality. They can be customized to fit our customers' facilities, and the canvas walls can be designed with any images or logos. Best of all, the canvas walls won't hurt if a customer runs into them, but they are still stable enough to alleviate the interference issue we'd experienced with standard curtains.
Not Planning for Hardware Issues
With VR being so new, the equipment manufacturers have not exactly created invincible headsets and controllers. Equipment breaks, especially when it gets some major use! Not planning for things breaking is a major misstep. Headsets will break and computers will go down at the worst possible moment. You need to have people in place to deal with the issues and a plan to replace the systems when things go bad. One thing to keep in mind is that most RMA processes take 30+ days to get your item fixed or replaced. After dealing with this nightmare at our own VR arcade, we realized the need for a good warranty system. Our
hardware guarantee allows facilities to get warranty replacements in hand immediately so downtime can be as short as possible. We test and fix it, or ship out a new part all in the same day. We understand that keeping things online is an absolute must for a facility.
Taking on VR Alone
Virtual Reality is technology and we all know how fast technology moves. From computer components, headsets, systems, games, and more, VR is a fast paced ecosystem with many new and exciting products on the way. You have a million things on your plate and every attraction requires a bit of your time. VR is one more technically complex item to add to that list, but it doesn't have to be a headache to deal with, and you don't need to do it all on your own. When we first started with VR the learning curve was steep, even with our founders being developers and technologists. Through large amounts of time, trial and effort we figured out exactly how to run, manage and make great money from virtual reality entertainment. As one of the largest licensors of VR content and technology in the world, we now have the benefit of the best content and hardware coming to us. We have a team of developers and technology gurus testing and working through new content and hardware daily. When we find new hardware it goes through a process of testing at our own facilities to ensure that it can be put through the rigors of sustained commercial use.
There are many more pitfalls and lessons to be learned when successfully placing VR into a commercial facility. Our goal, since our founding, has always been to provide our customers with value through our system offerings, content, warranties, expertise and service. We help educate our facility partners on trends in VR, pricing strategies, and ways to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Best of luck with your upcoming VR adventure and let us know if you would like some help!
Check out more information about Virtual Reality and Private Label VR at: www.privatelabelvr.net