The first VR ARENA eSports system has been installed at Pinballz, a family entertainment center in Austin, Texas. The news comes from Omni VR treadmill developer Virtuix, the creator/developer of “VR ARENA” eSports attraction with Funovation, an industry leader in developing small-footprint attractions as the marketing partner and a sponsor of the eSports tournaments. Both companies are Elite Gold Sponsors of Foundations Entertainment University.

Virtuix Omni VR Arena 4 Player VR attraction has just raised the revenue bar at the company’s first test location Pinballz. During its first 10 days of operation, VR Arena generated revenues of more than $10,000 from a total of 820 players, paying $15 per play or $12 as part of a combo package. Some players drove more than an hour to experience and compete in the eSports weekly tournaments.

“VR ARENA is off to a great start,” says Darren Spohn, owner of Pinballz. “Revenues and player numbers have so far exceeded our expectations, and technical issues have been minimal.  Virtuix’s virtual reality attraction looks awesome and is a big draw for our guests, especially those in the gaming community. The ability to compete in an esports arena and win weekly cash prizes is a big plus.”

Per Virturix: “VR ARENA includes weekly and monthly esports tournaments, organized and sponsored by Virtuix, Funovation, HP, and HTC, with an annual prize pool of more than $50,000. The companies plan to install three more VR ARENA systems by June, and a total of 20 systems by the end of 2019.”

“The launch of VR ARENA is a big milestone for our company,” says Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix. “The initial reactions and orders since our unveiling at IAAPA 2018 have been overwhelming. Our main focus now is to fulfill our order backlog and, ultimately, we aim to install a VR ARENA at every FEC, trampoline park, bowling center, and large entertainment venue in the U.S. and elsewhere.”

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“VR ARENA is a high-energy, four-player eSports attraction that features 4 Omni motion platforms for walking and running inside virtual reality, an automated staging area that keeps throughput at 20 players per hour, and social sharing stations for players to upload gameplay videos embedded with the venue’s logo.”

“After a successful debut at IAAPA 2018, the VR ARENA installation at Pinballz is the first of many,” says Ryan Borton, CEO of Funovation. “Thanks to its active, multiplayer, and competitive gameplay, VR ARENA has the potential to become an anchor attraction for the family entertainment industry. Walking and running around in virtual reality games, combined with esports, is a unique experience that drives players to come again and again.”

“The launch of VR ARENA demonstrates that VR can bring in new business to FECs. 45% of guests who attended VR ARENA’s opening night at Pinballz had never visited the FEC before.”

Virtuix has published 5 tips on marketing VR attractions at FECs and using VR to attract new audiences, and new money, to FECs. You can read Virtuix’s blog post on these tips here.

Jan Goetgeluk will present more data and insights from VR ARENA and Omniverse ESPORTS at the VR Summit at Amusement Expo on March 26 (sign up here).

Interested operators also can sign up for a demo at either Amusement Expo or at Virtuix’s headquarters in Austin here.

What this could mean? Prior to the release of Omni VR Arena, I had consulted for Virtuix so I am quite familiar with just about every aspect of this VR attraction and eSports component. The small footprint is perfect for FECs (approximately 400 sq. ft.). Virtuix’s concept of separating the players is important as some new players are uncomfortable trying something new in public and want privacy. This is a new feature in development.

The first 10 days, averaging $1000/day in revenue, with approximately half of the players visiting Pinballzs for the first time, is something that every FEC should take note of.  Also, the distance that some of these players traveled helps expand the target market from the norm for an FEC.  Jan just told me that many of the players played multiple games and tried different games – again showing that content is king. ‘Hats off to Virtuix and Funovation or should I say ‘goggles’ off?

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