Reports from various entities indicate that 2021 has seen a more than 30% increase in the post-COVID market, with innovation, unique content and strong business models defining that growth.
After the seemingly endless deprivations of the lockdown, some positive reports have started to appear that show the light at the end of the tunnel.
A compilation of reports from various entities indicates that 2021 has seen a more than 30% increase in the post-COVID market, with innovation, unique content and strong business models defining that growth.
The difficult situation faced by machine operators entering last year’s lockdown cannot be understated, and we are fortunate to be able to look back on what must have been incredibly difficult situations for many. developers.
Inowize – Developers of ‘Arkadia VR Arena’, a system distributed in North America by Attractions Products, saw gamer attendance decimation in 2020 as lockdown hit followed by a rebound in 2021 attendance figures .
Location-based entertainment leader Hologate recently shared reports of its machine operating in the field. Through their monitoring in the cloud, they found the numbers revert to the maximum number of players at 90,000 per week, as seen at the start of the lockdown in March 2020, and to that record amount in March 2021, with a number of players even higher in June and then July.
Minority Media, another leading developer of box-based virtual reality platforms, has grown with the deployment of a licensed hardware solution based on the popular Transformers Movie IP, a multi-player virtual reality system, with different and entertaining games based on the recognized film universe.
MajorMega has seen success with the deployment of its Hypwerdeck immersive entertainment attraction at Hershey Theme Park, with the installation of two of its four-player motion platform and physical effects virtual reality systems.
Virtuix, which recently raised additional investments, also revealed a resurgence in the LBE VR scene.
Sites operating the company’s “Omni Arena” have seen a return to revenue of over $ 15,000 per month. In addition, nearly 25% of the operational sites in March recorded monthly revenues of more than $ 20,000, while three of the selected group made $ 40,000, according to Virtuix. This is a promising trend reflected by the VR platform, supported by the heavy use of competitive play through the company’s esports tournament platform.
Escape rooms continue to grow
One of the emerging trends that was gaining momentum before the lockdown was in VR escape games, and developers like Ubisoft Escape Games and ARVI Labs are still seeing tremendous interest in their titles as the market reappears.
Since the start of 2021, SpringboardVR has seen a steady increase in minutes week-over-week through March as the market emerges from lockdown. At that time, new restrictions had limited the opening of their VR arcades to certain geographic locations.
In the future, the use of the service started to increase, with the reopening of Europe in May / June. Visitors to virtual reality sites are hungry for out-of-home entertainment, with the number of minutes recorded through our active stations significantly increasing.
Difficulties persist for some
It was nonetheless a difficult time for the operations which had to maintain and support the sites, especially during the business foreclosure. It has been difficult to get additional information from other providers in this area who are actively restructuring their businesses and assessing their prospects.
Gaining a sense of the impact of the crisis on the indie VR arcade scene has proven difficult – far from the data of the VR game distribution arms, there is a reserve mentality on the part of operators in this area. .
Redline VR – an independent company and Chicago’s premier VR arcade and bar, shared data that clearly showed the impact of the closure and possible plans to reopen. With the reopening, the curve reflected the gradual comeback and then continued to show growth as the site owner revealed he was getting closer to the best quarter ever, even without any corporate events.
Places that have seen a positive shift towards public support for the business, such as Redline VR, are in an envious position to capitalize on the pent-up hunger for social entertainment spawned by a long period of foreclosure. How this will reflect in other VR arcades in different territories is still under evaluation.
This has been difficult for site operators who are in places and territories that have been forced to execute more draconian business closures. One of those operations that had to contend with harsh conditions was also the first operation to establish the modern VR arcade business approach: Canada-based Ctrl V, which had to permanently shut down two of its 23 facilities. .
Lack of government support for tenants led to the company’s first permanent closures in August 2020. But slowly, entertainment operations are reopening in some Canadian provinces – with the first two Ctrl V sites opening in June. .
During this crippling period of forced lockdown something had to give, and while Ctrl V was able to make a plan to reopen its remaining 13 facilities, the company had to bite the bullet somewhere else. This saw the installation of Howell, one of the first sites opened in 2017, added to the list of permanently closed sites – to allow the company to focus on the current 12 most profitable sites in the franchise. .
This is a big blow, as the place is a victim of the economic climate rather than its success as an entertainment site.
The Ctrl V team expects the results of the first of its reopening to indicate positive feedback, reflecting what has already started to be seen in the film industry.
(Editor’s note: Excerpts from this blog are from recent coverage in The Stinger Report, published by KWP and its director, Kevin Williams, the leading interactive news service on out-of-home entertainment covering the immersive frontier and beyond.)