Running a VR Arcade: Arcade Layout Tour
October 12, 2017 | 5 min read
Ashley Henson, Store Manager at Upward VR, gives in-depth analysis and reveals first-hand challenges that come with opening and operating a VR Arcade.
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Hey guys, my name is Ashley Henson and I want to take you through our store here at Penn Square, Upward VR. As you can see, you’ll see a whole bunch of color and signage. One of our main things that we wanted to focus on when we opened the store, is the fact that we’re in a mall, and it’s super busy, and so we’re going to have to try and get people’s attention somehow.
So we have TV’s that show different VR games, and show you kind of how VR works, as well as it shows our promotions and slideshows, and what not. This is one of the main things that draws people’s attention, is stopping and watching the TV’s, so that was one of the biggest things that we felt like was important.
We also have banners that show what promotions we have. We’ve got our summer pass going on, we’ve got events going on. And then finally, we have a how it works sign, which people always stop at just to try and figure out what VR looks like, and how it works here.
A couple other things to note, is our welcome desk. So we always have someone sitting at the welcome desk here. They’re able to greet you, ask you if you have any questions. This is where people check-in. So we’ll do all of our cash, credit card, all of that stuff, this is where they’ll pay. And it’s also where we have our springboard monitor. So when people book on-line, we’re able to just hit check-in, or if they walk it, we’re able to hit plus booking, and start them up. So this is where all that magic happens.
Another thing that we have is a demo station. We found that also since we’re in a mall, we needed to attract peoples attention, and so we do Richie’s Plank Experience. And we made sure that it was here at the front of the mall, so that when people are freaking out and screaming, and don’t want to jump off the plank, it draws some crowd, and people want to know more. And so we offer our free demo station.
Another thing that we have at the front of the store, is our race station over here. So at first we started out with the race station in the middle of the store, but we quickly discovered that when people see a chair and peddles, they’re really intrigued, so we moved it to the front of the store, and our racing station purchases increased over half. Like we went from having every now and then people purchasing it, to at least 30 in a day or so, wanting to do it. So this is our race station.
Then once someone purchases time, we have different stations that they can go into. We’ve got our walk-around single station. So like station six here is, we usually only put up to two people in this, and they can trade headsets. So this is what their stations look like.
And then we also have group stations, and these are certainly the most popular. Our group stations have futons and couches so that people can just hang out, and also if you notice we have TV’s. And so anyone that’s here hanging out, or if they’re sharing a headset, they’re able to watch and see what the person’s doing, and how they’re playing.
Also, if you notice there’s tons of signage, but one of the main things that captures people’s eyes, is we have game banners all throughout here. So when people come in and ask questions, and they ask what kind of games we have, we always invite them, “Hey, you’re welcome to walk around, read the banners, check out the signs,” because then it gets them in and walking around and even more intrigued.
We also, in each station, have these rules, what the VR controllers look like, how the different types of games, we have beginner games, intermediate, experienced. And then we also have a little bit of a tutorial on how to exit out of a game, ask for help, stuff like that. So tons of signage. We found that when people are sitting here, sometimes they’re on their phone, bu most of the time, they’re trying to read anything and everything they can, especially since we use colors that draw them in.
So these are our group stations, our single station. One other type of station we have, is an individual standing only station. Right now we’ve got four back here, and these are all set up so that it’s standing only. Usually if we have a group come in and want to play multi-player, this is our first place that we put them, so that they’re all back here, they can talk together, and are able to play.
Something that’s really important to note though about these stations, is that all four stations are on two base stations. So if you are just starting in arcade, something that you’ll think is incredibly interesting, is that you don’t have to use two base stations for every single station that you set up, you can spread them out. So for four stations right here, we have two base stations. And that has helped us out as far as spacing, and as far as making everything just easier.
Next, I’m going to show you our event space. So we book about three to four events per week. It’s huge for us, and this is what our event space looks like. So people are able to come in here, they have this whole space. We’ve got a table, we can usually fit up to 30 people, but we’ve even had an event of 50 people in here. And then we also have our buffet area where they can set presents up, and do gifts, and all of that.
And I would say that events are probably one of the most important things that we do here at Upward VR, specifically because once you book an event, then that’s anywhere from 9 to 50 kids that are all going to be in here, and when their parents come and pick us up, they’re intrigued too. And so we found that once we book one event, we usually get at least two to three referrals for other events. So events are really huge, in our store at least.
Thank you for joining us. Again my name is Ashley Henson, and this is Upward VR.
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