Virtuix, developer of the Omni virtual reality treadmill and Omniverse VR Arena eSports attraction, announces that its Omniverse gaming platform has surpassed 1,000,000 million plays and now has 20 VR games to choose from. Bull Runner is the 20th game released for the proprietary platform and simulates the annual “Running of the Bulls” festival in Pamplona, Spain.
As reported by Global amusements & Play, “Omniverse is the cloud-based content distribution and arcade management platform included with each Omni motion platform and [Omniverse] VR ARENA attraction. Commercial operators use Omniverse to run Omni games and track revenue stats. All games on Omniverse are optimized both for the Omni and for location-based entertainment (LBE). Virtuix has shipped more than 3,000 Omni units to date to over 500 locations in 45 countries.”
Virtuix Shares 6 Key Lessons Learned from its most recent eSports Competition
[Frank’s comments after each key lesion learned in Red]
- Offer better games, not more games. Omniverse gameplay data shows that 80% of operator revenues come from only 20% of games. In other words, of the 20 Omniverse games, 4 account for 80% of revenues. The 10 least popular games on the platform generate only 6% of revenues. This is a key lesson as it follows the 80/20 Rule that also applies to amusement games & prize choices – 20% of the games generate 80% of the revenues – 20% of the prize choices account for 80% of the points redeemed. It also applies to every business in the world. Too many choices translate to ‘less’ player/customer throughput, frustration & lower experience, less repeat visitation, negative ratings – LOWER REVENUE.
- Shooters and ease-of-play are key. Eight of the ten most popular Omniverse games are shooter games. The second most requested genre is horror, the top choice among women. In third place are kid’s games. The most important game characteristic, reported by 79% of Omni operators, is simple, easy-to-learn controls. The ideal game is “easy to play, difficult to master.” Well stated! Attracting women is key to long term success. Same applies to games. 97%+ of people do not read signs. All top games have simplicity/difficult to master characteristics. If your mind can see an image of a game for only 1/5th of a second and instinctively know how to play, you have zeroed in on the first and most important step.
- Self-consciousness is the biggest hurdle. The number-one hesitation that drives customers away, as reported in a survey of VR operators, is that “guests are shy or uncomfortable about playing while people are watching.” Although providing more privacy for players may diminish an attraction’s visual draw, it may increase the number of guests who end up trying it. Totally agree! Perhaps VR Arena will install an optional roll down shade but here we come to another problem. Players need to be watched by an attendant at all times in case of an accident or medical emergency. Same applies to all enclosed attractions/rides in our industry. Also, some people do not want to put on headsets (messes their hair?). This will soon be solved with new technology.
- Selecting the right staff is critical. Throughout their VR experience, guests need lots of handholding by attendants who are socially engaging and comforting to players. Many operators assign their most technically-minded staff as VR attendants or their resident gaming fanatics. This choice may be a mistake, as these employees may not be the most personable. Totally agree! Same goes for our talented game technicians who love to repair games but not so good at dealing with customers. All attendants need to be people that naturally smile, like people, and look them in the eye when listening and speaking. The only drawback here is that the attendants must know a little about each game and assist the players in choosing the game that is best for them – and quickly.
- Operational simplicity is necessary. A player-to-attendant ratio of at least 4:1 is essential to achieve acceptable ROI. Semi-automated operation and a predetermined player flow are necessary to keep throughput high (at least 20 players per hour). Well-designed attractions follow a steady cadence, with groups of players entering and exiting in a synchronous manner. Agree in theory, but Murphy’s Law always applies here. There will always be bottlenecks, special attention required, attendant breaks, equipment malfunctions (like reboots), facility electric & Internet glitches… There is a need to keep customers entertained while they are waiting.
- Ultimately, it’s not about VR. Although guests may be initially curious to try VR, the novelty wears off fast. To attract repeat players, an anchor VR attraction needs to be Active, Multiplayer, and Competitive. Esports is a great way to add an addictive competitive element to VR, stimulating repeat play and enabling operators to build a local community of return players. Hey Virtuix. You are on target here and I really appreciate your honesty! Yes, eSports is going to be HUGE. Our industry is banking on companies like Virtuix to make sure that our FEC/LBE locations can be a relevant eSports destination, even if we only get the ‘crumbs’ from the overall pie.
“We’ve learned a lot about the requirements of operating VR in location-based entertainment,” says Jan Goetgeluk, Virtuix’s founder and CEO. “Our first foray into the FEC market, a stage-style product with 5 Omnis placed in a small area, had suboptimal throughput, flow, and labor costs. Two years of customer feedback helped us design our new attraction, VR ARENA, with highly-automated user flow, built-in esports, and a selection of the best Omniverse games.”
Virtuix launched its Omniverse content platform in late 2017. Its extensive library of games allows Omni operators to offer all popular game genres and appeal to a wide audience. The 20th Omniverse game, ‘Bull Runner’, requires players to compete for the highest score by running as close to the bulls as they can without getting gored. The game highlights the Omni’s key benefit, offering the ability to physically run in VR.