Pinballz in Austin, Texas, was the first LBE venue to feature the attraction.
When it comes to the consumer side of virtual reality (VR) entertainment becoming successful and making a profit can be both difficult and different paths. Location-based entertainment (LBE) is one avenue some companies are having success with, while others – like IMAX VR – have struggled. Virtuix, best known for its Omni treadmill, entered the LBE field with gusto last year announcing its VR ARENA attraction. And it seems to be onto a winner with the first installation recording significant attendance and revenue.
Virtuix installed the first VR ARENA at Pinballz, a family entertainment center in Austin, Texas, on 7th March 2019. After the first month, the small-footprint VR attraction managed to rake in over $30,000 USD in revenue from 2,200 plays.
“VR ARENA has exceeded our expectations,” said Darren Spohn, owner of Pinballz in a statement. “Guests are loving the experience, and we see strong repeat play. Thanks to the esports prize competitions, we’re able to attract a new audience of gamers and entice guests to play again and again.”
Powered by Virtuix’s “Omniverse” content platform the VR ARENA holds weekly and monthly esports tournaments sponsored by HP and HTC, with an annual prize pool of more than $50,000. Stats reveal more than 1,800 guests have played, paying $15 per play or $12 as part of a combo package. The age range for players varied from 5 to 65, with an average age of 26.
“The big draw of the attraction is the ability to walk and run around inside a video game,” said Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix. “Such a unique experience cannot be had at home. We’ve seen some customers drive for more than an hour to come play.”
With the ability to host up to four players at a time, VR ARENA has been designed as a high-energy VR esports attraction, using HTC Vive Pro headsets. The attraction can be operated by one attendant at a steady throughput of 20 players per hour. The Omniverse platform features 20 competitive titles for vendors to choose from.