Can VR Esports Be Your Next Anchor Attraction?

Why Anchor Attractions Are Critical to Your Success

An anchor attraction is an iconic, signature attraction that makes your entertainment center unique.

Anchor attractions at FECs have historically included bowling, laser tag, go-karting, and other large, expensive rides or activities that drive traffic to your venue. Customers come specifically to play these attractions and they return often, boosting repeat play and guest satisfaction.

Anchor Attractions

Anchor attractions are critical to an FEC’s success. They’re the reason people show up, stay longer, and spend more. But they tend to be large, taking up thousands of square feet, and can cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars or more. And while they used to be a key differentiating factor, in this era of copycats, maintaining a unique attraction mix has become nearly impossible.

Choosing the right anchor attractions is a tough decision for FECs, and mistakes are costly: once set up, changing an anchor attraction is expensive and disruptive.

Enter VR Esports, a Compact and Affordable Anchor Attraction

Can VR esports serve as an anchor attraction? Recent data indicates yes. At the world’s first Omni Arena esports installation at Pinballz, an FEC in Austin, Texas, nearly half of players reported that they visited primarily to play Omni Arena. The attraction generated $100,000 of revenue in the first four months and achieved 30% repeat play.

Driving traffic and repeat play are hallmarks of an anchor attraction. Omni Arena delivers both. Yet it differs from traditional anchors in two important qualities: price and size. Omni Arena costs significantly less than the large anchor attractions and takes up less than 375 square feet.

Omni Arena

To deliver consistent revenues year after year, an anchor attraction must offer an experience that gamers can’t get in their living rooms. With today’s low-cost VR headsets, the typical “stand-in-place” VR games can be played at home. The Omni Arena experience, by contrast, is unique and only available at FECs.

Omni Arena - Interior

Drive Repeat Play with Esports

To attract repeat play, an attraction has to offer more than just a one-time, passive experience. Bowling, laser tag, and go-karting share three traits that drive repeat play:

1. Active — a physical activity is involved
2. Multiplayer — you can play with friends
3. Competitive — players compete head-to-head or via a leaderboard

Only attractions with all three characteristics tend to achieve anchor status. These attributes are also the essential ingredients to esports.

At Pinballz Omni Arena’s active, multiplayer, and competitive experience resulted in 30% repeat play among guests with a player account. Weekly esports contests, with a $50,000 annual prize pool, incite players to keep on coming back.

Omniverse ESPORTS

Thanks to the promise of cash prizes, 70% of players create an account, yielding 1,000 to 1,500 personal profiles each month. Venues can use this data, which includes email address, first and last name, and date of birth, for direct email campaigns to announce upcoming contests and to publicize other incentives for Omni Arena fans to return and play again.

Account Creation

Attract a New Audience and Increase Store-Wide Revenues

We recently surveyed 33 Omni Arena players who attended an event at Pinballz. Our findings:

  • 45% came to Pinballz specifically to play Omni Arena
  • 10% came specifically for Omni Arena and had never been to Pinballz before

A typical guest who came just for Omni Arena was Peter Adams of Kyle, Texas. After his son saw a Facebook video ad, he drove for more than an hour to Pinballz, where his group of four played Omni Arena twice.

Dad and Son team

How do these results translate into new, untapped revenue for your venue? According to the 2018 IAAPA FEC Benchmark Report, FEC guests spend an average of $22 per visit and visit an FEC twice a year. Over a five-year period, the LTV (life-time value) of a new customer is $220. If Omni Arena draws on average 1,500 players a month, and if 10% are new customers attracted solely by Omni Arena, then every month Omni Arena delivers new LTV of $33,000.

Boy playing Omni Arena

Guest Satisfaction is Critical

From the Pinballz player survey:

  • 100% of players said they would play Omni Arena again
  • 80% said they found the $15 ticket price reasonable
  • 92% rated the Omni Arena experience as positive

Positive ratings feed directly into strong word of mouth: 30% of guests who played Omni Arena had heard about it from a friend.

Woman playing Omni Arena

To keep ratings strongly positive without discounting ticket prices, we suggest offering guests a satisfying, complete start-to-finish experience instead of just a five-minute game. Omni Arena includes both a pregame staging area and a postgame experience. After the game finishes, players receive a video of their experience, with the venue’s logo embedded, to share on social media. These fun additional elements lengthen the experience from a five-minute game to a complete 20-minute guest experience that includes interaction with the game, other players, and the attendant.

Omni Arena Overview

Omni Arena Rollout Continues

In the coming weeks we’ll be installing Omni Arena in Austin, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. More news and stats soon!

Dave & Buster's Omni Arena

Want to try Omni Arena for yourself? Visit us in Austin for a VIP demo! We’ll arrange for your hotel accommodation and, if you purchase a system, we’ll even reimburse your flight expenses!

Schedule VIP Demo

For more data and insights about how VR and esports can increase revenues at your venue and attract a new audience of gamers you didn’t have before, download our free VR white paper here:

Download White Paper

Contact us to learn more about how VR and esports can increase revenues for your business in 2019!

Best regards,

The Virtuix Team