The Omniverse esports platform from Virtuix, included with each of the company’s Omni VR treadmills and VR Arena attractions, has reached 1 million plays and 20 games. The latest game is a title called Bull Runner.
Omniverse is a cloud-based content distribution and arcade management platform that allows operators to run Omni games and track revenue. To date, Virtuix has shipped more than 3,000 Omni units to over 500 location-based entertainment (LBE) locations in 45 countries.
Bull Runner – new on Omniverse
The 20th game for the Omniverse platform, Bull Runner simulates the annual ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival in Pamplona, Spain. For players to gain the highest score, they compete by running as close to the bulls as they can without getting pierced. The game is a testament to the Omni’s key USP: the ability to physically run in VR.
Six VR gaming lessons
In reaching the million play milestone, Virtuix decided to share six key lessons from running virtual reality games at LBE venues:
- Offer better games, not more games. Omniverse gameplay data shows that 80% of operator revenues come from only 20% of games (four games). The 10 least popular games on the platform generate only 6% of revenues.
- Shooters and ease-of-play are key. To establish an ideal VR game library, it is recommended to have a range of 5 to 10 games; inclusive of shooting types, horror genre, as well as a game for children. Of the 10 most popular Omniverse games, eight are shooter types. In terms of most requested genre, horror was the second-most sought after, and was the top choice among women. Then, the most important game characteristic, as reported by 79% of Omni operators, is simple and easy-to-learn controls. The ideal game according to Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell, should be “easy to play, difficult to master.”
- Self-consciousness is the biggest hurdle. A survey of VR operators reported that this tended to be the number-one factor that compels potential customers to stay away. They found that “guests are shy or uncomfortable about playing while people are watching.” Despite the fact that by providing more privacy for players an attraction’s visual appeal may lessen, the number of guests who end up trying it could well increase.
- Selecting the right staff is critical. Throughout their VR experience, players need a large amount guidance by attendants who are socially engaging and comforting. Often, many operators tend to assign either their most technically-minded staff or resident gaming fanatics as VR attendants. That choice could be a miscalculation, as these employees may not be the most personable.
- Operational simplicity is necessary. In order to realise acceptable ROI, it is imperative to have a player-to-attendant ratio of at least 4:1. Additionally, semi-automated operation and a pre-determined player flow are necessary to keep operational capacity high (at least 20 players per hour). Well-designed attractions follow a steady tempo, with groups of players entering and exiting simultaneously.
- Ultimately, it’s not about VR. Albeit initial curiosity to try virtual reality, the novelty wears off quickly. To attract repeat players, an anchor VR attraction needs to be active, multiplayer and competitive. Esports are a great way to incorporate an addictive competitive element to VR. Likewise, they help to encourage and stimulate repeat play as well as enable operators to build a local community of return players.
“We’ve learned a lot about the requirements of operating VR in location-based entertainment,” says Virtuix’s founder and CEO, Jan Goetgeluk. “Our first foray into the FEC market, a stage-style product with five Omnis placed in a small area, had suboptimal throughput, flow and labour costs. Two years of customer feedback helped us design VR Arena with highly-automated user flow, built-in esports and a selection of the best Omniverse games.”
A full report of Virtuix’s lessons learned from one million Omniverse plays can be found on the company’s blog here.