Kent Bye covers location-based VR operations, pricing structures, crowd management and throughput, and reaching the mass audience in this 30-minute Voices of VR podcast interview with the founders of VR World NYC. The new midtown Manhattan portal, which opened June 24th, features over 50 VR experiences spread over three floors in a 20,000 square foot space near the Empire State Building. Visitors pay $39 in the afternoon and $49 in the evening for unlimited stay and play.
“The challenge for a business like VR World is to market themselves to first-time users and foot traffic of casual tourists who are willing to explore for a couple of hours, but also have a streamlined system for if and when they do get really popular to still have it be a good user experience,” explains Bye on his podcast page.
Attendees are given an RFID wristband that they wave to enter the queue for one of the more popular VR experiences. Then they can try other VR experiences or hang out at the snack bar until they are texted that it is their turn.
Bye describes other pricing and crowd management approaches he’s seen used at VR festivals and VR installations. VR World NYC employees, called Guides, run multiple stations and recommend experiences to the guests. Experiences range from single- and multi-games and immersive worlds to tools such as Tilt Brush, and even to architectural design apps.
VR World’s goal is to offer a wide range of VR experiences, well beyond gaming, to expose all audiences and age groups to the possibilities of virtual reality.
“VR World is perfect for first-time VR users or even for existing VR owners who want to try out a number of different commercially-available experiences without having to purchase them yourself,” suggests Bye. “The price of admission is about what it would cost to purchase a single high-end VR experience, and there are plenty of the most popular VR experiences available to play.”