Start a VR Arcade: The Complete Guide

How do you start with a VR arcade? What steps do you take to arrive at a good business plan? When you want to start a VR arcade, you will discover that there are a lot of factors which play a role in the startup. It is not (yet) as simple as buying a headset and then starting. No, you must also take into account other factors such as legality, game licenses, and practical considerations such as cable management. To help you, we have prepared a 10-step plan for you where the global steps of starting a VR arcade are explained. With these steps, you already have an idea of what challenges you will encounter when starting an arcade. Define your VR Arcade 1. Your vision, objective and USP When defining your objectives, you ask yourself the question: "why?" Why do you want to start a VR Arcade? Do you do this because you like it, because you enjoy doing business or because you want to earn money from it? The objectives determine the core values of your company. These core values translate into the identity of your company. This identity is what makes you unique: make sure you know your points. These unique points (Unique Selling Points: USP) make your company secure! 2. The choice of your location The location of your VR arcade determines the future of your arcade. For example, do you specifically choose to sit in the middle of the center, or would you prefer to sit outside? A VR arcade in the center has the advantage that there is an enormous amount of visitors. After all, a lot of people come to the center, and you can also enjoy the so-called 'day-people.' However, renting a property in the center of a city is a lot more expensive than renting a property outside the center. So if you choose to set up a large arcade, it may be wiser to place yourself outside the center. In general, you can speak of three types of locations: Your building (stand-alone location): the advantage of having your building is that you can decide for yourself what opening times you use. Monday and Tuesday are less frequently visited days than Friday and Saturday. Some arcades, therefore, choose to open only a few days (or evenings) during the week, because there is little run-up on weekdays. When you have your building, you must ensure that people know where to find you. Marketing is, therefore, an essential tool to use. Use of public spaces: an open space, for example in a shopping mall, has the advantage that there is an enormous amount of visitors to your arcade, without having to promote very much for it. However, you must keep in mind that people come to watch, and relatively few plays. In a public space, therefore, ensure that you are truly unique. Mobile location: you can also choose to start your VR arcade at a mobile location, for example, in a trailer. This allows you to offer VR at different places, and you are not bound to a city or village. The advantage of this is that you are unique: you can finally go to people instead of people. 3. Your identity You start your VR arcade with a specific identity, but you also develop this identity at a given moment. Determine in advance what your identity is: are you a cozy VR bar where you can have an excellent coffee? Or do you choose to furnish a very dark room with LED lighting to speak to the gamers? Your identity also has to do with your vision and objective, so it's essential to keep this in mind. Several things that influence your identity are: The logo: your logo is the first thing people see. This is the first business card that people know of you, not just in the arcade, but also in the marketing beyond. Make sure that your logo stands out from others and that the colors of your logo are reflected in your house style; The website: the website of your VR arcade provides the necessary information to someone who looks up information about you. The website must, therefore, be clear and well-arranged, but also provide sufficient information. Let the corporate identity come back on the site, and ensure that you integrate a good ticket system into your website; Social media: Nowadays, social media is one of the most accessible marketing tools. You can use it directly and reach a huge part of your target group. Do not underestimate the use of paid promotions on social media; you have a massive range with this! 4. Legal obligations In addition to all the ideas you have, you must also comply with several legal requirements. For example, you need a catering license when you want to sell food and drinks, and you need to remember that you need game licenses to play a VR game in a commercial environment. Information about game licenses can be found in another article from us, so we stick to the legal obligations in particular. Several obligations that you must meet are: Business form: register with the Chamber of Commerce and determine your business form; Start right from the start with keeping track of your VAT. An accountant can help you with this; Make sure you take out the correct insurance policies. This includes insurance for liability, for employees and theft; Keep your employees' payroll in order. The license costs of games can be increased per VR station. Keep this in mind too. Build your VR Arcade 5. The marketing strategy When it comes to marketing, the saying 'data is king' applies. The more you learn about your target group, the more specific you can use your marketing. Use as many channels as possible for your marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the local customer, collaborations with other parties). Especially in the beginning, you must make your arcade known to the world. When you have some familiarity, you can focus more specifically on the target group that you have in mind. A few things to think about when you start working with the marketing strategy are: Which communication channels best suit your customers? Which content is most effective for your marketing purposes? How regularly will you post on social media? Are there (local) news media that are interested in bringing your VR Arcade to the attention? Marketing creates awareness that makes people interested, and that in turn, ensures that customers will return. 6. VR Arcade setup An arcade always has a certain house style. Also, incorporate this corporate identity in your design! When you start thinking about setting up your VR arcade, you first have to determine which VR devices you are going to offer. For example, a basic VR setup (HTC Vive Pro) can best be offered in the form of a 'cubicle,' while the Virtuix Omni treadmills can once again be placed next to each other. In general, most VR arcades use a basic setup with the HTC Vive Pro headset. You can use three ways with this setup: Cubicle: the cubicle is the most seen setup. You created a square space of approximately 3 x 3 m and put a VR headset in there. The advantage of the cubicle is that the base stations always work well (after all, they only see each other) and that the player in the VR room has enough room to move around freely. The chance that the player touches someone else, or the wall, is therefore minimal; Room-scale: a room-scale room is the same as a cubicle but without separate space. Room-scale is widely used by VR users who play at home in their living room because they have no risk of touching someone else there. This is less suitable for a VR arcade, but you can, for example, place two players in a larger room; Free-roam: free-roam is the newest way of playing. This makes the VR headset wireless so that the player no longer feels any cable hanging over him. This gives a unique experience. A free-roam setup allows me to create a space of 6 x 6 m, where a maximum of 3 headsets can be placed together. 7. Required VR hardware in VR Arcade The basis of your arcade is, of course, the hardware that you use. You can choose only to offer VR headsets, but you can also expand this range by offering extras. Consider a Virtuix Omni treadmill or the Hypersuit flight simulator. Both devices use the VR headset, so are a very good addition to the 'standard' range. Try to distinguish yourself from the other arcades in this! The hardware that you need anyway when starting a VR arcade are: VR-ready PC (recommended GPU: GTX1080 or RTX2080); VR headset (for example the HTC Vive Pro); Hygienic accessories (disposable masks, protective covers); Large screen to watch with (minimum 42 "or 50"); Fast (wired) internet connection; 8. Getting rid of the cables You naturally want your arcade to look beautiful and well-cared for. Loose cables can disrupt this image. It is therefore important to conceal your cables as well as possible, not only because it looks nice, but also because it is safer for your players. The cables of VR headsets can be run through the ceiling using a cable management system. As a result, the cables hang above the player, and they run neatly to the computer. The player is no longer bothered by the cable and cannot trip over it, while it does look neat and tidy. You should also try to tidy up the cables from the computer to the screen. When you measure the distance between your computer and the screen, and you purchase a cable of the correct length, you can easily eliminate this. Nothing looks as sloppy as hardware that is not being used for a while and just lies on the floor. So make sure that you have a tidy area somewhere where you can put your things. This space can be close to the playing field (for example a cupboard) or somewhere in a separate space. For the controllers and headsets, there are handy stations for sale where you can charge the controller directly in. This looks a lot cleaner and ensures that your controllers are always charged. Your VR Arcade in action You have your goal clear; the headsets are ready, there are people at the door ... you are all set to start! 9. Your employees in VR Arcade Your VR arcade stands or falls with the people walking around it. This is important, and do not save on good, knowledgeable, and friendly staff! The number of employees depends on how often you are open and how busy it is, but in general, you can work with 1 or 2 full-time employees during the week, and need 3 or 4 employees on the weekend. To make a good start with your VR arcade, it is advisable to make your employees knowledgeable with the VR systems. Let them often play themselves because it is easier to transfer something if you have experience with it. It is strongly recommended to hire someone who knows about computers and technology. There is of course always the possibility that something goes wrong with the VR hardware while playing (think of a screen that no longer turns on, a game that no longer starts or a controller that shoots in all directions). Often this type of problem involves a software update or a loose cable, but you must have someone who can find out and fix it quickly. 10. Prices, rates, and customer examples Pricing is difficult, especially at the startup period of your arcade. You do not want to start too high because otherwise people are put off by your prices, but on the other hand, you do not want to start too low because you do want to make the first profit. In general, when you start a VR arcade, you do not make (large) profits in the first few months. Don't be shocked, because this is the case with most successful arcades. The first months are, namely, to gain prominence. You do this by starting with a low entry price. As your arcade grows and becomes more famous, you can adjust the price accordingly. Also, extras that you offer arcade (such as the Virtuix Omni) can provide more income. These unique extras make your arcade more special so that you can request a higher rate. 11. Finance Starting an arcade, and with it, the purchase of VR hardware is a major investment. You can request an advance from the bank for such an investment, but banks are rather reluctant for companies dealing with electronics. VR is completely new and is therefore seen by banks as 'experimental.' But because there are more and more VR startups, there are now also banks that specialize in VR and computer hardware. Because of the experience they have with starting arcades, they are more willing to finance a starting VR arcade. After an assessment of your company history and financial investment, they can assess whether or not they will work with you. To contact one of our financiers, you can contact us. 12. Tips & tricks for the perfect arcade A 'perfect arcade' does not exist, but by thinking carefully about the above steps, you will get close. Read very well about VR hardware and software, especially in the beginning, so that you will not be faced with any major surprises when starting up your arcade. A few tips that we want to give you: Outsource some tasks. Starting and running a VR arcade is too much work to do all by yourself. Hire good people and work together to achieve the result; Make use of the experiences of other arcades. Every arcade goes through the same startup process. Talk to arcade owners and see how they run their arcade; Always go for the best and latest equipment. Do not save on VR hardware, because this is the experience that your customers pay for; Ask others for feedback. When you are very busy with your arcade, you will no longer see the simplest things. Ask someone once for his or her opinion about your arcade, and who knows, you might come to interesting insights. "Just do it." At some point, you just have to start the arcade. Once the arcade is open, you will automatically encounter new problems. These problems can always be resolved, and you will learn from this for next time.

How do you start with a VR arcade? What steps do you take to arrive at a good business plan? 

When you want to start a VR arcade, you will discover that there are a lot of factors which play