With every brand-new platform being emerged, the VR industry starts seeking for the last in a series of killer applications. Undoubtedly, virtual reality has been experienced fast-paced innovative solutions and investments as of late.
How many people had a chance to plunge into much less nice VR? Though it can be pretty evident, still there is an issue we bump into all the time while mentioning VR as an entertainment. Why so? Because our audience has no understanding of its immersive power. True, nowadays VR is relatively expensive for the average consumer. But, LB VR seems to be a natural step for the whole industry in the shape of mainstream appeal. Creating team-friendly content seems to become a big win.
This is strikingly supported by the fact Sandbox VR (‘Deadwood Mansion’, Star Trek: Discovery’), Hong Kong-based VR startup, has raised $68 million from investors, and specifically Andreessen Horowitz with its $65 million of input.
The Void is another example regarding successful LB VR model. In recent years, the company that manages interactive experiences in eleven cities worldwide has created most-talked-about ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and, surely, ‘Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire’ and ‘Ghostbusters: Dimensions’. Just a few months ago, James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire, has invested $20 million in the location-based VR provider known as Void LLC.
The number of LBE VR facilities is growing. Sandbox VR games have been operated at 6 locations in 4 countries, The Void ones at 16 locations in 4 countries, Zero Latency ones – at 36 locations in 20 countries, Avatarico games – at more than 100 locations in 28 countries, and Hologate at 256 locations in 25 countries.
Some people take the view that LBE VR is a bubble, and sooner or later the companies entered this sphere will fail (as it happened to IMAX nearly three years ago).
To prevent this, one must get a clear idea of how to manage their business in order not to kill it with the rent price and other fixed costs. All-in-all, such a system does allow for a business foundation to take place minding right partnerships and awe-inspiring content selection.
While the LB VR industry is still a fresh one, there are various business models to approach to get the most traction with users.
What are the current solutions for LB VR partnership?
One may spend months sifting through all ever existed LB VR experiences. Here we sum up the most renowned achievements from different companies hoping thereby to facilitate the task of searching.
The company seems to be unreachable since it had a deal with Disney. They’re starting experiences for big franchises like Star Wars and Ralph and opening locations in Disney parks, but there is no franchise for entrepreneurs.
It’s a big loss because of their concept. They introduce a hyper-reality that requires a lot of building on site. The VR experiences are leveraging a combination of headsets with motion tracking, haptic feedback and special effects systems to allow patrons to freely explore and interact with virtual settings within the confines of specially-designed environments.
The bright side is that if there were a franchise the startup cost for opening a center with The Void would break the ceiling. It seems like Disney is a perfect match in the end, because the whole idea is not for small or medium business. If you are a venture investor, take a look.
Its VR games put users inside virtual dimensions for them to be completely untethered. Though, to reach that the company uses expensive equipment.
Back in 2015, the developer was claimed to be a pioneer of free roam VR.
The company takes on the world market with no way you can simply keep track of it. Zero Latency is always on the way to stay updated. Here we mean its collaboration with Vodafone, one of the first operators to provide 5G service in Europe, ‘Sol Raiders’ with its advanced gameplay system and other achievements that make us believe in eSport.
Some more drawbacks hide in the specifics of a shooter as a video game genre (not everyone when mentioning VR strive on using gun and participate in weapon-based combats). And requiring space of 2000 sq ft for 8 players the product isn’t space-efficient at all.
If you’re going to open a center, calculate the revenue per square feet before moving forward. However it’s a good solution to cover the niche audience with shooting games, if you plan to have a big center with many experiences. And if you’re looking for a company to develop a free-roam VR shooter these guys have the expertise.
Hologate is a widely known location-based VR company affording its users to savor many different multiplayer experiences. Moreover, a large part of the Hologate`s install base is imbedded in other businesses like casinos, mini-golf courses, movie theatres, some sort of theme parks and so on.
The company concentrates on straightforward high-end turnkey solutions created to deliver extra revenue for the agencies that enable them.
However the shooting games is not something everyone likes, so take that into account when you’re choosing a product to start with.
The space efficiency is better than Zero Latency has but it’s not the best because there are only 4 players maximum at play.
And think of big malls with a lot of footprint to start with this one.
Sandbox VR is another lucky dog keeping on igniting new customer bases and investments, though it was pretty tough especially during ‘nuclear winter’, a period lacking investors and further excitement.
The concept is really appealing. It involved hyper-reality but with way less expenses on the construction works than the Void has. Small details like a real table you can hide behind or a torch you can physically grab make the immersion deeper.
And the configuration is space-efficient.
Right now they have mostly shooting games like Zero Latency but they’re looking forward to more family-oriented experience, and that’s a good thing.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty tough to get its franchise right now as you`ll be simply put on a waiting list. It seems that they’re doing everything by themselves since they got the investments from Andreessen Horowitz.
When tackling immersive out-of-home experience, we can`t fail to emphasize VR escape games. With each passing year, this business model has become more and more appealing.
The product is targeted at the mass audience including families and corporate parties.
The space efficiency is the best in the market since you need only 270 sq ft for 6 players experience.
Having almost five years of VR pioneering and the same quantity of games created the company has gained 50% Net Promoter Score (just like the whole Netflix). The latter is used to measure the loyalty existing between a consumer and a provider.
Recently, Entermission became the distributor of Avatarico games in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia. Both Avatarico and Entermission have experience in operational business (something that other VR escape games companies lack). And the technology expertise is unique. Avatarico uses hand tracking in its games. In Cosmos, sitting in a chair, you you can fly, shoot fireballs and hi-five your teammates with your bare hands, holding no controllers at all. Your virtual hands are just your real ones. And Entermission just makes it even deeper. It just presented its turnkey solution involving haptics feedback and stimulating the players with wind, temperature and scents at TransWorld’s Room Escape Show & Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
How to choose the right business model and the perfect technology partner?
In case you strive to create your own LB VR, similar to those mentioned earlier, you`ll need to get the experience in the following:
- VR development,
- ways to provide a scalable system that will grow together with one`s business providing best practices worldwide,
- tricks useful for targeting mass audiences coupled with the right marketing strategy.
Operating the presented data, you will be enough ready to create your own VR products which response to special market demand. Your next step is, probably, about opening a franchise or to build VR centers network.
It`s far crucial to keep in mind that current location-based VR is framed to get the privilege of the tech gap arming users with a VR headset, sometimes a VR backpack, and a specially designed space where users may walk freely in their virtual reality environment. By all reports, the vast majority of those experiences don`t presuppose home-use.
In this article we`ve alluded to the most promising alternatives, the companies with so far operating status in LB VR. Those that offer a range of ready-made solutions and franchises. Hopefully, this information will come handy if you are seeking for a deserving technological partner to open a LB VR startup.
Much of all the above-mentioned companies` success pinned on exclusivity and right partnerships. Still considered to be brand-new, LBE market is flourishing with successful solutions and is not discouraged by failures. To avoid the causes of the latter, concentrate on the tips on the choosing the right technology partner and carefully balance all pros and cons before starting a mutual venture.
Anton Zaitsev, Avatarico CEO, AR / VR developer. His company was the first to develop a VR escape game for location-based entertainment. He has been dealing with VR technology for more than 6 years. He likes to share his experience in that sphere providing some useful tips for VR business success. He is always ready to help with any questions related to VR technology. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.