Running an escape room business is great fun. Not only can you enjoy watching people twist their brains around complex situations, but the business model itself can also be very lucrative. However, certain limits on capacity and scalability can be a downside to some big-thinking entrepreneurs. Also, a lot of work goes into developing the different escape rooms, which makes the business model a high-maintenance one.
Technologies like VR can help you to improve both scalability as well as your maximum capacity, eliminating many of the hurdles that escape room entrepreneurs face. It can also help to add more variation to your escape room and decrease the reconstruction costs as well as costs for developing new games.
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Raising your capacity using VR takes some care when choosing the VR solution you’re going to use. Many free roam VR solutions help to create a more-immersive experience that’s comparable to escape rooms that employ actors. This does lead to an awesome experience, but also comes with some difficulties. The space both of these options require is large, and this makes them somewhat inefficient. Four to eight people in rooms of 200 square meters is common for both free roam VR solutions, as well as escape rooms that hire actors.
However, both VR arcade games and VR escape games require far less space, therefore increasing capacity and your bottom line.
Some of the most space-efficient escape room solutions that implement VR are Avatarico and Entermission. Both these options need only 25 square meters for six players, making them extremely efficient in the space they use. Other options also exist, some of which tailor to up to four people in rooms of 35 square meters, which is still a large improvement on the space-intensive free roam solutions.
Assuming 21 sessions per week with ticket prices of €100 per team, you can expect:
- Seated VR escape games requiring 25 sq. m to generate monthly revenue of €360 per sq. m.
- Free-roam VR escape games requiring 35 sq. m to generate monthly revenue of €257 per sq. m
- Free-roam real-life escape games requiring 45 sq. m to generate monthly revenue of €200 per sq. m
As you can see, seated VR games require much less space and therefor increase your revenue per square meter considerably.
In a total space of 100 sq. m, you can place:
- rooms with seated VR escape games with a total capacity of 24 players
- rooms with free-roam VR escape games with a total capacity of 18 players
- rooms with free-roam real-life escape games with a total capacity of 12 players
Capacity can double when comparing VR to normal escape rooms too.
Improving Scalability and Saving Costs
Free roam VR games surely aren’t the solution if you’re after scalability, as not only the larger room size necessary reduces scalability, but many have expensive hardware kits making them an expensive choice when it comes to initial investment as well as maintenance.
VR arcade games and VR escape games rarely require as much expensive hardware, and they’re also suitable for escape rooms with limited space. This is due to less of a need for sensors and other expensive extras required for free roam variations.
These options make it possible for you to purchase solely the hardware needed as well as the licenses and then set up your new rooms. Any maintenance is limited to that of the VR headsets themselves as well as your PCs, and upgrading your escape room with improved VR headsets is much cheaper than completely redecorating the rooms. Since the environment around the players is generated by VR, reorganising and redecorating the rooms isn’t necessary on a regular basis.
This also prevents long down times while the rooms are being redecorated, further increasing the efficiency of your business.
Switching games in and out is very easy using VR, and this makes it much more attractive for clients to come back regularly. It also allows you to host a larger selection of games at the same time, which should help you increase your customer value per order.
It also allows you to tailor to a larger target market and reduces some of the issues that come with traditional escape rooms. There’s no more need to completely redesign the room and game before a client would be interested in visiting again or spending more of their time and money with you.
Being able to add more games regularly and switch games out from time to time makes it all the more appealing to offer subscription services as well, thereby increasing income stability and making the business easier to run and manage. Since VR arcade games and VR escape games are based around the same set up, it allows programmers to create games in constant conditions, which makes a far larger selection of different games possible in the same room/setup.
VR is here to stay – Use it to your advantage
With large companies already backing the technology and many businesses already implementing VR, there’s no getting around it. VR is here to stay, and its uses aren’t limited to escape rooms either.
Even though mass adoption will take a long time, with so much backing, it’s certain that VR will take its place among other successful technologies in the near future. The early adopters have already played their role in increasing awareness in the technology, it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world follows suit.
As the market for VR develops, more and more escape rooms will start implementing both VR and AR into their games. Now is the perfect time to start implementing VR before its implementation becomes mainstream. This allows you to get a head start on working with the technology and improving your processes. It also allows you to develop important skills in working with VR technology, which will help solidify you and your company’s position in the future.
Anton Zaitsev, Avatarico CEO, AR / VR developer. His company was the first to develop a VR escape game for location-based entertainment. He has been dealing with VR technology for more than 6 years. He likes to share his experience in that sphere providing some useful tips for VR business success. He is always ready to help with any questions related to VR technology. You can contact him at [email protected].