Gaming Centers/Lounges, how can they succeed?

seneca_22

[09] Warrior
So we had a gamers lounge open up here in Santa Fe. The guy has 21 screens, 18 32" LCD's networked for FPS's, 2 65" DLP TV's and a projector. He has 360's on every screen, and one of the DLP's also has a XBox 1 and Wii, with no PS3's. He said it was more cost efficient to get 360's, they cost less, and pretty much any good multiplayer game on PS3 is also on 360. We've hosted tournaments there and brought our own PS3's.

When I go there, there's just a small handful of people there, maybe like 3-5, sometimes 8 people at most. I've seen these kind of things in Kansas City KS, Lawrence KS, and in Albuquerque. People just don't want to pay for something they can do at other people's houses. Even if there's a bunch of networked HD screens and comfy chairs.

So how do you make a business like that successful? The ones I've seen had pay for play games, be it console or PC. PC only establishments seem to stay in business, but the console ones die out after a while. I don't want this place to die out, so how do we get more people to come and play, or what else needs to be offered so that there's something else generating income for the business.

All he has is pay for play, and sells drinks and snacks. It's a nice set up, but I've always felt there needs to more than just pay for play for it to stay open. Sell used games, music, and movies and peripherals. Maybe some Anime, or anime posters, toys, etc.

Do any of you have something like this in your area? How does it manage to stay open, or keep people coming in to pay to play? I'm not quite sure how business is going for this guy, I'm just going off of what I see when I go over there and it doesn't look good. He's open 6 days a week for almost 12 hours a day and he's the only one that works there right now.
 

Marginal

Chikara Sashimi
I've never really understood how the PC ones or the console ones could stay in business. It never seems to add up just on gaming alone.

I'd think you'd have to have it be attached to something like a night club for it to actually not fold sooner or later.
 

seneca_22

[09] Warrior
Yeah, that's what I'm saying. All the ones I've seen before folded within the first year because they were gaming only. It's cool and everything, but there needs to be more to generate income to cover expenses and maybe make a profit. Used stuff, maybe attached to a laundry mat, or perhaps a cool burger/pizza joint with other things like pool, ping pong, and foosball and some alcohol.
 

Syrpiektre

[09] Warrior
Run tournaments there, and have people pay a venue fee? Bring people to the thing as a community, and if the hosts are gracious, then the players will continue to hang out there.

Actually selling games is one thing as well, but that requires even MORE investment.
 

seneca_22

[09] Warrior
Well, what I'm trying to do for now is to have daily events or game nights for certain games. A smash night, Soul Cal night, COD, Halo, Rock Band, Left 4 Dead nights. Might be different crowds, but the premise is that he gets people everyday he's open that dedicate hours to play.

Another thing I'm trying to do is have monthlies, but hopefully different ones every weekend. His goal is to have a different tournament every weekend so I'm trying to help with that. It's cool to have a place like this to go from time to time and I'd hate to see it go because it followed in the footsteps of other failed businesses just like it.
 

Hot Rod Dave

"Saucy saucy minx"
opening a gaming lounge has always been a idea of mine. besides the fact the funding would difficult for me, i have not seen a SUCCESSFUL lounge open up here and stay open. and figuring out why has been an issue. I dont think there is a market for it. What I mean is, why go pay to play online when you can do that at your house. you dont have to have all your buddies over raiding your fidge and drinking all your southern comfort. you can just invite them to play through your console.

So which brings the point that seneca has as to why these places tend to be unsuccessful. I think the idea of having it linked to a pizza joint or something like that would be a great idea. also selling games (used or new) accesories, consoles etc. the anime thing was also a great idea. mabye have a small theater showing the newest ones for a small fee. selling anime and other movies. I think you are on the right track, you have to offer more to the gamers besides just coming in and playing.

Tourneys should be a staple for a place like that. running weeklys, weekenders etc should be a priority. That should be something that is WELL ADVERTISED rather fliers or small commercials on TV.

Bottom line is you HAVE TO offer more than pay and play gaming. cause most people will just do that at home for free. You at least have to make an environment that would make people want to hang out there. Have a target market and go after that. For example if you target the younger crowd 10-14yo, put up pokeman posters, older than that get some cod/left4dead type stuff. The nice screens and comfy chairs are only the surface. someone has to figure out what more we can add to it
 

Drave2117

[09] Warrior
Well the one that Jaxel had his tournament at in Jan. was a good place. It has been open for about I think 6-8 months now and looks like it is doing well. They did birthday parties and other events so it does come down to what Dave stated. If the business does more then just play games, they can survive. As for how long depends on the popularity of the store itself.
 

Shenrei

[09] Warrior
Places like that need a bar/lounge area, and perhaps pool tables to attract a good crowd. Dave and Buster's comes to mind but not as endowed. People like to play games under the influence.
 

Hot Rod Dave

"Saucy saucy minx"
thats exactly the example i was gonna use. dave & busters apeals to me cause Im older and I can sit down have a few drinks, have a nice dinner and go goof off. However I can only play house of the dead 2 before the 1995 graphics give me a headache.

a more update version of dave and busters, with modern games (console,pc,pool,darts etc) frequent events such as tourneys, weeklys, etc. would be the ideal place for me. I dont really like to sit around and get drunk at a bar. I dont really like to play skeeball and house of the dead. but I do like to play those things together!!
 

docvizzo

[14] Master
Hmmm...maybe a stupid idea. But lets say you have 20 LCDs, 10 360s. 5 PS3 and 5 Wii.

Thats about 15-16000 investment for Equipment. I wouldnt go to such a place, since i'd have to pay for playing. But what about NOT charging the Game, but try to find another concept, just like, Gaming is FREE but you gotta drink/eat for 50 dollar when you have reserved a couch fo 4 people?

If i could meet my friends there and drink and eat, i would LOVE to pay the 10 beers. I could also imaging groups of girls that wanna have a fun evening, drink, talk AND play Wii games.

Maybe the concept should be changed. More like a Bar where you can drink and play Games. I would go there, fuck i would go there each Weekend. Nice Atmosphere, Beer (normal prices), Food, snacks. Sell Weed there and you'll get filthy rich.

Know what i mean? If it fails, you can sell all the TVs and such, money loss wont be so big.
 

Hot Rod Dave

"Saucy saucy minx"
thats a great idea as well. titty bars do that shit. 2drink minimum, but free admission type of scheme. so make it more of an adult type atmosphere and when you advertise, do so focused on the food and alcohol.

I think a collective idea from all of us, would have a successful business. more "dave & Busters" type place. not just an after school hang out for all the high school drop outs. have normal bar hours. Im sure that can work
 

docvizzo

[14] Master
Arrgh...fucking drinking laws in the USA. So it would be 21+, right? In Germany you could do the same whith 16+, since beer is allowed with 16. 16-21 is a good Gamerage.

Stupid cause you limit your guest from 21 up, but i still its still better than charging them for playing.
 

MAILBOXARSON99

[09] Warrior
There's a gaming cafe near my house, and I'd have to say that a very large portion of its visitors are below 21. It operates by charging about $3 an hour, or less if you plan on staying longer. The gaming cafe has had birthday parties before, and they have all-nighters for about $30 once a month or so. The gaming cafe also has shooting game tournaments and Rock Band type tournaments regularly, as well as an occasional fighting game tournament. They have HD TVs, and a bunch of Wiis and Xbox 360s with Xbox Live. The cafe also operates fairly close to a number of schools, from which the cafe gets much of its business.

IMO, video games at a bar would only make the bar pay extra fees, rather than attract more customers, mainly because many gamers are under 21.
 

seneca_22

[09] Warrior
Well, there are a lot of great ideas for any future endeavors down the road, I hope to see some of you take it on. Sadly, I don't think anything will change at this new place, so we need to just try to tackle it from a gaming standpoint.

Have specific games for specific days to try and cater to that crowd. I can't see myself paying $7 an hour for a 2-4 hour session for more than 2 days max. That's what he charges btw. Hold those on the weekdays and have a different tournament every weekend, hopefully with sponsors and give away prizes and use the cash to help keep the place going.

Sell some of the used games he has, ones that maybe aren't getting played but are still cool games. Not sure if he'd need a license for that. I don't know, maybe he can order some pizzas and charge a dollar a slice to help out, on the busy nights.

Just take as, you have a gaming center with just games, pop, energy drinks, candy, and snacks, and not much money to invest in anything new. What will you do to make it more successful. He did have a commercial, but his time on the air is already up, so now it's up to flyers.
 

Hot Rod Dave

"Saucy saucy minx"
owning one of these places is a dream of mine. has for a long time. all these ideas are fan-fuckin-tastic. I love the allnighter idea.

I would want to stay more towards the older crowd though. after all they are not the ones going to parents asking for money. I THINK i read somewhere that the average gamer is in the low 20's range.

I also think that you cant run a place like that like an arcade, like most owners do. You have to get creative. good thing we are all a bunch of creative fucks. we will sling weed in the back room....lol.

SENECA: tell homdude to do some more of that all nighter/weekend tourney type stuff. you can call your local radio station and its actually pretty cheap for them to come out, set up a little booth and throw out stickers a shirts and help promote the event. hell even some hooter girls for the all nighters would be sick. nothing like a pair of titties in your face when your trying to get maxis JF B+K BBBA BT B+K out. lol. tell him to work on promoting.

I own a brake and alignment shop in san diego. when I first opened, i was hitting up every newspaper, pennysave, ads on craigslist, coupons in everything i could find, i would prmote a brake job for $49.95 (most cars, not including parts) just so i can get them in the door. I put up flyers on telephone poles. all by myself. I HAD TO get people into my shop. I had my familys life savings into that place. i was a dead man if it didnt work. I was successful. Ive been open for 5 years and up until 2 years ago, i did not draw a paycheck. thats right I DIDNT PAY MYSELF. But now money is coming in, im able to pay all my bills and buy new equipment and tools and put money into advertising. Its hard work. and its not for most people, but owning a business takes real drive and determination.
 

FightClubHuBBs

[09] Warrior
They can't succeed unless they offer up a balance of selling games, party discounts, can get sponsors and have a great tournament enviroment. Virtual Rush is no longer open despite being open for 2 years. They plan to reopened in a new location but it looks like the owner is having some legal issues so I doubt they will return. They were attempting to do the last two ideas I wa mentioning earlier but they were doing it late in the game. They tried to focus mostly on just getting members and trying to do a intro to game design summer camp, which wasn't flying.

In a way I am glad to have cut off ties with them in this regard becuse I was called to court becuase of my association with the owner. I'm just happy I was dismissed.
 

headlesshobbs

[08] Mercenary
Any place I've seen as a straight arcade has been closed and it seems the only way you can have these around is if you include them as part of a bar, bowling alley or something. Best one's I've seen were actually part of a hangout area running with pool tables, gaming computers and someone who was able to set up something for the place on a weekly basis. This works well when you have people you know who can generally hang out and have fun on a constant basis, but it becomes something of which you have to deeply rely on unless you got a good spot in a mall.

For malls I don't know how you can do this anymore, they have restrictions either from other shops complaining about noise and disturbance (F 'em all to hell for that), or you have a prick manager who's running the place. Those factor in helping destroy local gaming in total and I don't see any solutions working around that.