5 Questions to Ask Vendors When Selecting a VR Attraction
IAAPA 2019 had several excellent VR attractions on display. Which is right for you? In addition to questions about content, throughput, and price, ask vendors these five questions to help navigate your options and complete your due diligence.
1. How well capitalized is the vendor, and who is backing them?
To survive as a single-product manufacturer responsible for hardware, software, and games, most vendors have to sell 60 or more units a year. Vendors who sell fewer than 60 might not be around in one to two years. We’re aware of at least one manufacturer who went belly-up in the last few months, leaving customers stranded without support or new content.
Ask VR vendors how much money they have raised, who is backing them, and how they plan to access additional capital in future.
2. Why would guests play again?
It’s easy to get customers to try VR once. But even if they have a great experience, they won’t necessarily play again. At a successful FEC, all anchor attractions (meaning high-priced, large-scale attractions like laser tag, bowling, and go-karting) have a clear means of stimulating players to return and play regularly. Across these anchor attractions, what drives repeat play is active, multiplayer, competitive gameplay—not just a single mind-blowing experience.
Even incredible VR experiences don’t necessarily drive high repeat play. What happens when the “wow” factor wears off? If most guests play only once or twice, revenues won’t be sustainable.
Is the attraction a habit-forming game or just a one-time experience? Why would guests play it again and again? Can the vendor supply any data that shows repeat play?
3. How will the vendor fund new content development?
Building a loyal following of repeat players means frequently refreshing content. Many vendors promise new content at short intervals, such as new games every six months. Yet history is the best judge of these promises. In the past twelve months, how many games has the vendor released?
In addition, game development is expensive and labor-intensive. How will the vendor fund new games? And how big is their game development team?
4. How many units have they installed?
From our experience in bringing new hardware to market, working out the kinks of a newly developed system takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months. If you’re ordering an attraction early in its life cycle, expect a myriad of hardware and software problems. How good is the manufacturer’s support, and are they U.S. based?
5. Ask for references!
Ask to speak with current customers about their experiences with the attraction, including revenue and reliability results. Have any customers bought second units yet? (The surest evidence of success is repeat purchases by existing customers.)
Omni Arena Breaks Records at IAAPA 2019
With over 35 units sold, Omni Arena has become one of the most popular VR attractions for family entertainment centers and the number-one location-based esports platform in the world. We extend our sincere thanks to all our sales partners and customers for making IAAPA 2019 our best show ever!
“Given the performance of the Omni Arena at our Orlando venue, we decided to purchase a second system for our new location opening in Katy, TX in March 2020. The Omni Arena has been well received by our guests and has certainly exceeded our revenue expectations.”
“I followed Omni Arena’s performance and results in the past year and pulled the trigger after trying the attraction again at IAAPA 2019. Omni Arena is such a unique and next-level experience, and its esports contests with prize money drive repeat play. Our bowling customers will love it.
“The Omni Arena games are highly interactive, like Call of Duty, and not just one-time experiences. They can attract a new audience of gamers to our venue. I love that the attraction provides real data to back up marketing claims and collects user profiles to market to players. I also love the queuing system that lets guests sign up and then return to play in the center as opposed to wait in an actual line. It’s the most complete package I have seen.”