Arcades Get an Extra Life With Virtual Reality
In the 70s and 80s, video games were almost exclusively played in arcades. It was rare for people to buy their own personal computer, and if they did, it probably wasn’t for gaming. Instead, people would take their couch change to these gaming dungeons and play Pac-Man, Galaga, or Tron. These arcades went viral because friends could hang out and play games together without investing in their own gaming equipment. We expect the “VR Arcade” to follow a similar story arc...
Below is an inside scoop for a large VR arcade in Tokyo, but these arcades are cropping up in almost every major city in the world.
VR seems to be in a similar state as computers were in the 70s and 80s. Computers were cropping up for business-to-business purposes and for arcades, but you would have to shell out some serious dough for home computers back then. Similarly, VR today is showing a lot of promise in business-to-business as well as military purposes.
Most people don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on something they’ve never tried for themselves. If you’re going to spend that kind of money, you should probably know if it’s really something you’re going to use enough to rationalize the purchase. Today’s VR arcades give people an opportunity to try out the technology before buying it for themselves, though not for quarters like the arcades of old. About $20 or $40 would probably buy a few hours.
There are already more than 4,000 VR arcades worldwide according to one estimate. And while IMAX has been having trouble with its own VR arcade business, almost two-thirds of VR arcades are at least breaking even. We have written about on-site VR experiences coming to major cities before.
Some arcades offer your typical brawl and shoot-em-up style games, while others offer alpine skiing or race experiences. A very popular game called Superhot stops time when you’re still. You need to fight multiple enemies and dodge bullets (Matrix-style) and plan your movements very carefully.
Some arcade experiences target children and teens, while others host paint nights or immersive video experiences that are suitable for all ages. These family-friendly experiences are sweeping the world. For such a young business, they are doing well. This is good for the arcades, but this kind of exposure to the technology is great for VR in general.
The mainstream-ification of VR won’t necessarily kill off these arcades, either. Just like you probably don’t have pinball machines, arcade-style weapons, or racing pods in your home, there will almost certainly still be room in the future for VR arcades to provide experiences that require expensive hardware.
Click here to find out how you can profit from VR arcades.