The Road to Recovery
via Social Virtual Reality
As we continue along on the COVID-19 ‘Road to Recovery’ and entertainment venues reopen and work their way back to operating at full strength, we foresee the experiences that inherently support strong social engagement in small groups will become more important and desired than ever.
It should first be noted that ‘shared experiences’ are not always ‘social experiences’ and although they sound similar, there are dramatic differences. Identifying and understanding the differences could bring a significant amount of added revenue to your entertainment venue.
A shared experience is one in which more than one person plays at the same time, engaging in similar gameplay, in a shared game environment.
A social experience, is one that takes that multiplayer or shared experience and adds a layer of engagement that may involve conversation, interaction, the consumption of food and beverage, or simply spectating, which all can create an emotional connection among the group and potentially a rich source of belonging and happiness for the individuals.
Examples of Shared vs. Social Experiences
Traditionally the cinema is a ‘shared experience’ but not a ‘social experience’. Couples or groups can be in the same theater and watch the same movie together, which makes it a shared experience, but they are not permitted to participate in active conversation or interaction throughout the duration of the show.
HOLOGATE, in comparison, provides immersive virtual reality experiences that create ‘shared’, and ‘social’ experiences through the visual connection, voice communication, and cooperative competitive gameplay. Although HOLOGATE is already quite effective in terms of the ‘shared’ and ‘social’ aspects, we have seen many HOLOGATE operators further ‘level up’ their social experience for their customers and dramatically increase their success.
As an alternative to the traditional pay-per-play, these operators have implemented a ‘reservation’ or ‘party’ model. A private group could place advanced reservations for the HOLOGATE in various increments of time. For example, sample durations could be 30 minutes, 1 hour, or longer, and the group is given unlimited access to the entire game library throughout that time…similar to a privately booked karaoke room. The group would also have the option to order food and drink in advance and have it delivered by the start time of their private HOLOGATE party. These operators would also surround the HOLOGATE with lounge furniture to give the guests a comfortable place to eat, drink, socialize, and watch the other players between turns, similar to the social experience when bowling, playing darts, or billiards.
Maintaining the Health and Safety of Our Guests
One of the most important considerations we’re all facing during this time is how we maintain good health and safety protocols to help protect our customers while they’re in the space. This has increased the workload of the attendants as they are performing much more frequent and stringent cleaning for each successive play which cycles through a different player each time.
In this ‘reservation’ model, the headsets and controllers would require less sanitizing and operator effort and time as the same group will be continuously using the same equipment throughout the duration of their scheduled time.
A Proven Practice
Through the many testimonies from various HOLOGATE operators, we really see this added social experience directly increasing the system revenue per hour ratio, increasing the efficiency of your team, increasing the food and drink sales, and most importantly, increasing the social experience that would lead to heightened group happiness, which would mean loyal and repeat business for you.