Meet Bob Cooney

Location-Based Entertainment & Amusement Thought Leader, Speaker, Writer, Mentor

Bob Cooney is the world’s leading authority on the location-based virtual reality (LBVR) business, having been an innovator in immersive entertainment for nearly 30 years. Bob frequently contributes to Replay Magazine as their technology editor and is a thought leader who travels the world seeking out the best and worst that virtual reality has to offer. He is a frequent keynote speaker at VR and amusement industry conferences and is a renowned and skilled moderator.

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Bob has authored several controversial white papers on the application and implication of immersive technology and is the author of the upcoming book “Surfing the Third Wave of VR”, a look backwards and forwards to how virtual reality is changing the location-based entertainment industry.
Bob runs an online private LBVR mentoring group with hundreds of active members, and constantly interviews the leading innovators in the VR industry to uncover insights that will help operators and solution providers create meaningful, profitable and sustainable businesses utilizing virtual and augmented reality technology. He also mentors early-stage companies with emerging virtual reality solutions on how to connect with the amusement market, as well as larger operators who are looking to select the best virtual reality solutions for their business model and audience. Bob helped to launch Zero Latency VR and Hologate, two of the most successful LBVR companies in the world.
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Bob has built a career as a serial entrepreneur, innovating on the bleeding edge of technology and location-based entertainment. As the founder and CEO of the first successful laser tag company, Laser Storm, Bob partnered with Edison Brothers Mall Entertainment in the early 90’s to create the world’s first laser tag and virtual reality arcades in malls across America. He later joined the founding executive team of Global VR, where he introduced the first commercially successful virtual reality arcade game, the “VR Vortek”, and the first successfully licensed AAA PC-based arcade game, “EA Sports PGA Tour Golf”.
Cooney went on to become VP of marketing and business development of Ecast, who introduce the world’s first broadband-enabled digital jukeboxes, and COO of NTN Buzztime, the networked trivia game company where he launched the restaurant industry’s most successful restaurant entertainment system into chains like Buffalo Wild Wings.
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Cooney is a vocal proponent of introducing human-centered design into the amusement industry to create entertainment experiences that really resonate with millennial audiences. Millennials are the largest population cohort, and their values are drastically different than previous generations. The disconnect between the Boomer / GenX power structure, and their largest customer base, threatens the viability of many segments of the location-based entertainment industry.

One of the biggest issues for entertainment locations, including VR Arcades, is that there is so much consumer technology flooding the market, it's impossible to figure out what products and experiences to offer your guests. Many arcades mistakenly think they should offer everything, but this just confuses consumers, making it unlikely that they will have an amazing experience, tell their friends, or brag about you on social media. Most operators also think that the novelty of VR will just lead to a stream of customers pouring through their doors. While this can be true in the initial weeks or months, once the novelty wears off, you need a solid marketing plan and product update strategy to keep customers coming back.

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If you're involved in the business of virtual reality at this early stage, it's likely because you're passionate about technology and experiences. For VR to take off, it's critical that consumers have an amazing first experience. With so much bad VR out there, you have the responsibility to curate those experiences to guarantee your customers have a wonderful time. If you do, they will want to experience more VR with their friends in the future. I want to help ensure you provide your guests with the best technology and the most memorable experiences.

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