Top 10 Private Label VR titles at the end of 2018, by minutes played:
Arizona Sunshine Arcade
Creed: Rise to Glory
Richie’s Plank Experience
Fruit Ninja VR
Raw Data Arcade
Honorable Mentions: Raw Data Arcade, Space Pirate Trainer, The Lab, Drunkn Bar Fight, Cowbots and Aliens, GORN
Surprised by any of these? I’m not. Every one of those titles have earned their place for one reason or another. With that, let’s dive in--
I am continually amazed by the number of people that enter our arcades having never played VR, or have barely heard of it. One of the great things about Virtual Reality is that it really doesn’t take a lot to impress people these days. People love it for the immersion, for how much it has evolved from its humble beginnings.
But that’s all changing, and rapidly.
We are experiencing a fast shift in VR Arcade trends - The same shift that killed “old-school” arcades years ago. If people are going to go out of their way to spend money at an arcade, they’re going to need to be, almost literally, swept off their feet. So what does that mean for you, the arcade owner or employee? It means you need to be prepared with adequate content, with an experience that leaves your customers saying, “I can’t wait to come back!”
Extensive data and analytics have allowed us to zero-in on what keeps our customers coming back. The primary game-related reasons are as follows:
Unique, Memorable Experiences
1) Multiplayer/Social Experiences
I’ll go ahead and say that this is THE most important point in providing your VR arcade with a good, long life. Why? Because solving this issue solves the longstanding issue that potential customers always tell themselves: “I’ve already tried VR with my phone, and I’m not a gamer, so this definitely isn’t worth my time.”
Most people would initially think, “Just make better games!” Right? Well, partially. But that’s not good enough. What about, “Just bring in some couches and a pool table! Make it more social!” Also true, but old arcades did that too. If VR Arcades are going to be so much better and different than old-school arcades, you’ll have to think harder. And, well, the industry did.
So what’s the trick? It’s simple. Multiplayer VR games. Combine your primary feature with the social aspect, and you’ve just grown your market exponentially. 4 buddies can now come in and kill hordes of zombies together. A couple on a date can visit Paris in VR together. A company can help each other disarm a bomb, fight drunk people at a bar, or play dodgeball in outer space. The options are nearly endless, and growing constantly.
Whether they’re team-building, or fighting against each other in a tournament (which we will touch on in a later article), this concept has revolutionized the VR Arcade industry. I will never forget the first time I played a multiplayer co-op VR game with a friend of mine. The experience was so unique, so new, that it has now become a cherished memory of mine. So, imagine a group coming in that has never played VR before, and that is their first experience. You will acquire some happy, loyal customers.
2) Unique, Memorable Experiences
This point also helps with the “I’m not a gamer” customer concern.
I’ll never forget installing a particular VR arcade in Canada, a few years back. As I was training the staff, there was a particular girl that was so overtly uninterested in the system. Didn’t care for it at all. So what did I do? I politely asked her if she would try a game called Richie’s Plank Experience - most of you will know it - if not, look it up. After her short time in that game, she played more VR that day than any other employee. Simple, right?
The problem was, she didn’t really have a choice in the matter at the time. Customers DO have a choice, you can’t force them to do something, even if you know they’ll like it. So, how do you get a customer to know they want it, without them actually trying it? As much as I hate to say it, that riddle hasn’t entirely been solved. With the rapid evolution of VR and AR technology, it will surely solve itself soon. But in the meantime, it proves that there is a HUGE market just waiting to be tapped into. What’s important is that we do our absolute best to try.
And that means appealing to the masses, being unique, and showing the world that in VR, there really is something for everyone!
Well, except perhaps that 3-year-old that’s sitting in tears, watching his older brother play VR because his head doesn’t fit inside the headset. I always feel so bad for them.
Anyway, back to the point. While our number one game is a multiplayer experience, there’s a very valid reason why the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th top games are not - They are all incredibly fun and unique. Beat Saber delivered a remarkably well-put-together game that is just addicting. Job Simulator threw a comical, intuitive idea into the mix that works well. SUPERHOT VR developed a remarkably unique concept that is extraordinarily captivating.
Multiplayer or not, the reason these games sell is because they are unique, memorable, and intuitive - which we will touch on shortly. The content in these games has been so carefully and patiently crafted to ensure the player has a wonderful time. I get so tired of young, inexperienced developers coming up with amazing ideas, ultimately to fail due to creating half-baked content where production speed was more important than game quality. It happens too often - if you don’t believe me, just go look at the “newly-released” Virtual Reality games on Steam. You’ll see exactly what I mean without even having to try them.
3) Intuitive/Responsive Experiences
This concept ties in strongly with point #2, but in a slightly different and extremely important way.
Games HAVE to be intuitive to the customer, and they HAVE to be responsive in the way you’d expect them to be.
Beat Saber is my favorite example of both these requirements. First, the game is intuitive - you can get into the action within 10 seconds, and the gameplay is straightforward. Second (and this is what I personally believe made the game as popular as it is), it is responsive. When I first watched the teaser trailer for Beat Saber, I had a vision in my head of just what it would actually feel like to try it. Strong controller vibrations when I sliced a box, everything feeling in-sync and just “cool.” And amazingly, Beat Saber delivered exactly to my expectations - The game feels so responsive and immersive. If you have access to this game, go play it and imagine if the controllers didn’t vibrate very well when you sliced, or if the music wasn’t as great, or if the sabers looked odd or finicky in your hands - any one of these things could’ve absolutely killed the game - and these sort of things do kill many games.
So you get why the game needs to be responsive for a customer to enjoy it, right? Let’s talk about the importance of intuitivity.
Developers want their game to be intuitive so arcade employees are more willing to recommend it. Arcade owners want their games to be intuitive to improve the customer experience, and increase throughput.
This is why you DON’T see Skyrim VR in arcades - it takes far too long to learn the controls, and arcades don’t have that time (Well, technically you don’t see it in arcades because the publisher doesn’t offer commercial licensing). If a game offers a high level of immediate intuitivity, it’s a win-win for everyone: The employee can spend less time assisting that customer and move on to other matters in the arcade, and the customer can become immersed and confident much more quickly, allowing them to have a memorable experience. That’s how it all ties together.
Virtual Reality is truly astounding. The developers who create VR content are even more so. The ideas and concepts that have been brought to life mean there are almost numerous options for your VR Arcade. We don’t recommend you feature them all at once, customers get overwhelmed easily (I try to stick to around 20-35 at a time), but with our current VR Library possessing approximately 300 games and growing constantly, there will ALWAYS be something for everyone.
So take some time, learn about your customer base and demographics, then head over to our Game Library and find some titles that are right for them. Feeling overwhelmed yourself? Our game team knows every single title in-and-out, and is always happy to make recommendations.
Check it out!