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Radical Insights into Virtual Reality

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Bob and friends at Commanders Palace at Amusement Expo

I Miss Our Trade Shows – So I’m Doing Something About It

If you’re like me, you’ve been to a few virtual events this year. I guess that most were just ok—lots of webinars, too many PowerPoints, and hardly any real meetings. But nothing that got me excited to really ShowUp. I miss our trade shows I was in New Orleans at the Amusement Expo in March…

All About the Feels – Give Them An Experience They’ll Talk About

Too often, when designing experiences, we focus on what people will be doing. In-game design, lots of effort goes into balancing and core loop design. UX designers want to make sure that experiences are smooth and uninterrupted. We consider the technology, the interfaces, the rules, and the outcomes. We ponder pricing strategies, operational models, and…
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Five Whys

Why Asking Why is the Key to Innovative Experience Design

In my last blog post on how to design entertainment experiences, I wrote about the importance of a holistic approach to experience design where you consider all of your stakeholders. But it’s not enough just to identify them. You need to engage with them to understand their needs, so you can design an experience that…
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Holistic approach

5 Critical Components of Successful Experience Design

In a time when everything is changing, we all need to innovate the design of experiences we offer our customers. What we did last year is unlikely to work today. We’ve never seen anything like this in our lifetime. Well-worn best practices are suddenly obsolete, making innovation a required skill for survival. Innovation is not…
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McKinsey Innovation Priority by Sector

Innovate or Die

Everything has changed, but at the same time, nothing has changed.  That’s the paradox of the times.  The rules of being in public are changing.  Consumer habits, parent’s risk profiles, entertainment options and appetites are all changing. Yet the initiative to innovate business models is lagging. When I talk to business owners and executives, the…
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Social Experience Top Golf

How to Deliver Social Experiences to Your Guests

When I spoke to Randy White in June of 2020, one of the areas we touched on was the need for more social experiences.  Why do they want to be entertained? Why do they go out to movies, or bowling, or restaurants? Randy’s opinion on this is they want to socialize. “People want social experiences”…
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Nobody puts baby in a corner

What Do People Want? Social vs Shared Experiences.

When I spoke to Randy White this month, one of the areas we touched on was the need for more social experiences.  Why do people want to be entertained? Why do they go out to movies, or bowling, or restaurants? Randy’s research on this strongly suggests people want to socialize. “People want social experiences” has…
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Complexity requires systems thinking and emergence

You Have to Change to Survive – Here’s How

On a call with a client last night with a location-based entertainment startup, I was continually asked for answers to questions. “If we do this, what will the result be?”  This line of thinking is based upon cause and effect. One thing happens, and it triggers a response. It’s pretty much how we are taught…
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Randy White and Bob discuss Location-Based Entertainment post COVID19

Every Business Is A Startup Again

I interviewed Randy White from White Hutchinson a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of the first wave of the Coronavirus in America. I write “the first wave” because as of this date there is debate among experts about the inevitability of a second wave.  Two days ago Austin, Texas announced they have extended…
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Resistance is Futile

Are you resisting the circumstances thrust upon us by the coronavirus pandemic? Are you struggling to accept the new reality of our situation? Have you thought about why? I realized this week I’ve been resistant to our situation. I feel like the freedom to choose my way of life was stripped away from me. As…
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Movie Theater

Movie Theaters – Seeking Comfort in a Pandemic

Blooloop just published a new article I wrote about the possible extinction of the movie theater.  It’s worth a read if you love movies, are in the entertainment business, or are in any market that is being threatened by the coronavirus lockdown. The thought of the movie theater’s extinction fills me with sorrow.  We go…
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Spaces VR Brad Herman

Location-based VR Company Spaces Pivots to Virtual Collaboration

Location-based virtual reality was the hottest segment of virtual reality up until the coronavirus pandemic. Companies from consumer games, military, and other tech segments all rushed into the location-based VR market so they could monetize their expertise in virtual reality while waiting for remote collaboration, virtual conferences, training and education, and consumer games to become…
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A New World Calls for a New Format

In this pandemic, there’s more information to consume than ever, so the format of Dropping In is changing. Those long-form articles that many of you love will now show up on places like Blooloop.com, Vending Times, Replay Magazine, INC.com and other websites. Here’s the most recent one about the impact of COVID-19 on Location-based VR.…
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Coronavirus – WTF Should You Do Now?

Well, that escalated quickly. A week ago I wrote a blog post about how to make sure you’re employing good, visible hygiene practices to give customers peace of mind they might need to continue to patronize your VR arcade or FEC.  Since then many countries have secured their borders, banned gatherings of as few as…
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11 Critical Steps to Mitigate Coronavirus in your Virtual Reality Arcade

I’ve hesitated to write this article because I don’t want to give energy to the panic already ensuing. The media hype around the Covid-19, or Novel Coronavirus, is already at epic proportions and is threatening to do far more damage than the virus itself. Not to be callous, but there are so many things that…
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Eat, Learn about VR, and Network in New Orleans

The VR and Amusement worlds converge in New Orleans next week for Amusement Expo 2020.  I am hosting two extraordinary dinners in New Orleans! Would you like to join an amazing group of operators? For those of you who are curious about VR, but want deeper insights into where it’s going and how it might…
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Some Truth About Location-based VR Earnings

So many people have questions about virtual reality. “What is it?” “Why do I need it?” “Can I make money with it?” This last question is one I spend a lot of time writing about.  I wrote a book called “Real Money from Virtual Reality” because it’s the elephant in the room. There’s much hype…
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What We Can Learn from the First VR Device

The most popular stereoscope product and the first Virtual Reality viewer was the wildly popular ViewMaster 3D. It came with little round paper discs with stereographic images embedded.  Clicking a lever would change the scene.  I had one as a kid, and you probably did too if you’re an old fart like me. The ViewMaster…
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Virtual Reality is Like Déjà Vu All Over Again

All new technologies are built on something that already exists, and VR is no different.  The early seeds of virtual reality harken back to the early 1800s. Sir Charles Wheatstone was the inventor of the Wheatstone Bridge, a device that measured electrical resistance and was found in almost every electronics lab on the planet. He…
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Use Scarcity to Drive Demand

People want new and different each time they venture out for entertainment. If you are promoting your VR Arcade, and they’ve already been there, you’re offering them the same thing they did last time. The “been there, done that” response of the modern consumer is not what you want to evoke. Instead of promoting your…
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Will Lower Prices Increase Repeat Visits?

I hear operators and solution providers talk about “replay value” and “repeat visitation” all the time. It seems to be the goal of many people in the location-based VR business to get players to come back frequently. On the surface it makes sense…we’ve learned that it’s easier and cheaper to get an existing customer to…
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2019’s Top Location-Based VR Trends and Stories – Part 2

Last week I began my review of the top 20 Location-based VR trends and stories for 2019. This week I round out the list. 11. Sandbox VR – One of the biggest stories of 2019 was Sandbox VR raising over US$ 70 million from top-tier venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz. I had just gotten back…
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2019 Year in Review – Part 1

2019 saw much improvement in the location-based virtual reality landscape. Looking back, we can see some of the trends that will help up predict what’s coming in 2020 and beyond.  Here are my top 20 location-based VR stories and trends for 2019 (not in any particular order): Quest – The biggest news in VR overall…
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Is VR Safe for Kids

Is VR Safe for Kids?

With Christmas upon us, people might be wondering why can’t kids do VR? Despite the warnings, there are going to be a lot of kids with new VR headsets. I’ve been surprised at how many people I know bought Oculus Quest for their kids. It’s a step in the right direction for the adoption of…
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Creating Your Own Reality – A Study in Being Homeless

You know those innocuous questions you get when you meet someone for the first time, like “What do you do for a living?” When I meet someone who doesn’t know what I do, I tell them I work with emerging companies to help them increase sales of their virtual reality products. I also work with…
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4 New VR Bobble Award Winners at IAAPA Orlando

IAAPA 2019 might go down as the year VR grew up. Last year, operators experienced overwhelm with the selection and varied quality of VR products on the show floor. Most operators were saying “I need a VR. What should I buy?” This year it was “How much VR makes sense for me?” This was apparent…
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What Does the Facebook Acquisition of Beat Saber Mean?

Bob, Forbes columnist Charlie Fink and HP’s head of VR Joanna Popper at IAAPA At the IAAPA show in Orlando last month, one of the breakout hits of the show was Beat Saber by VRsenal. They sold more than 50 units during the 4-days of the show to arcades from around the world. (If you…
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Could VRsenal’s Beat Saber be the most profitable VR attraction yet?

Attended VR, the 4-minute mile, and the 2-hour marathon One of the biggest challenges operators have with virtual reality is the staffing requirement.  Most VR systems require at least one attendant. Attendants provide several key functions. They help players, most of whom are not familiar with virtual reality (yet), put on the headset and use…
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Zombie Go-Go Girls

Greetings from Russia. I had a fantastic experience this week that highlights the possibility of VR storytelling. I was playing a new zombie game from Anvio VR in Moscow. You have to fight your way through an office building, going from floor to floor in an elevator. In one of the levels, you have to…
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Matrix

At Oculus Connect 6 this month, Facebook announced that they are building The Matrix. Now they didn’t call it The Matrix, because that would be shitty marketing.  They are calling it Live Maps; how’s that for innocuous? How could Live Maps be bad? We love maps. They’re amazing. And if they were Live, that would…
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15 Top Insights from Brent Bushnell and Two Bit Circus

As you probably know, I have a webinar series called Deep Dives, where I interview leading voices in the location-based VR industry. Last week, I had the sincere pleasure of interviewing Brent Bushnell, co-founder and CEO of Two Bit Circus. Brent is the son of arcade legend Nolan Bushnell, who founded both Atari and Chuck…
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IAAPA Paris Review Part 2

Last week in part one of the IAAPA Paris VR review, I covered Spree Interactive’s kid-friendly free roam system, the latest from Hologate, motion simulation attractions from Modimage, the amazing Toyland from Illucity and Backlight, and the new Dojo from Altereyes. This week I will try to cover the best of the rest. The biggest…
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Virtual Reality Takes over IAAPA Paris

I travel the world constantly, uncovering, discovering and reviewing what’s happening in the world known as location-based virtual reality (LBVR) so I can deliver the most relevant insights to you.  Since 2016 I have flown almost a million miles covering conferences, meeting with emerging startups, and talking to the leading minds in virtual reality.  That’s…
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What problem are you solving?

Every successful product solves a problem. This is one of the few truths in marketing. If your product doesn’t solve a problem, it will never take off. If you’re resistant to this idea, please read on. As one of the leading mentors for startups in the virtual reality market, I hear from dozens of companies…
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LBVR is Approaching the Tipping Point

I just spent a week in Chicago with the insiders and influencers of the amusement industry. Every year the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) gathers to hold their committee and board meetings. Manufacturers preview new products coming to market for distributors. And everyone collaborates to help raise money for the AAMA charitable foundation. This year,…
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VR Addiction Post 3

Oculus, one of the two largest virtual reality platforms, is owned and controlled by the largest social media company on the planet, Facebook.  In my last two blogs, I write about how social media addiction is a growing problem, driven by society’s desire for distraction. VR has been proven to be a distraction that is…
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Virtual Reality, Distraction, and Addiction

Last week I wrote about how VR can be a pain mitigation treatment in hospitals. We’ve long known distraction is a useful treatment methodology for pain. The mind has trouble processing stimuli outside out of the field of attention, and VR provides powerful means of distraction. We all seek distractions. Television has been so ingrained…
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Will VR be the New Opiate for the Masses?

Virtual reality is going to change everything. Consumer companies like HTC and Facebook (Oculus) have been building headsets, banking on it being the next big consumer gaming platform. Whether that will happen is a matter of quite some debate, but what nobody is debating is the impact that VR is having across a number of…
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How to Evaluate Non-Gaming Experiential VR Content

Last week I gave you a framework to help evaluate content for a VR attraction. I focused on gaming content, but there’s lots of experiential content out there. This week I want to give you some things to consider when evaluating non-gaming content. One of the raps against non-gaming content is that it’s not replayable. Typically this content does well in…
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How to Evaluate Content for Your VR Attraction

For the last couple of months, I have been writing about how to select the perfect VR attraction for your location-based entertainment operation.  I’ve been encouraging operators to take a 360-degree approach, considering things like mindset, staff capability, physical attributes of your location, and the context of the consumer. At the center of all of these…
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How Zoos and Aquariums can use VR to Connect with Millennials

Last week I wrote about how operators need to consider the context of the consumer when considering what VR attractions they offer. I used high end karting centers as an example, because the psychographics of the core consumer is highly competitive, and made specific recommendations for karting center operators. This week I circle back to…
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VR for Karting Centers – The Customer is King

Location-based entertainment venues are adding VR attractions at a staggering pace.  For the last several years, VR was on the pre-chasm curve of the crossing the chasm model, with mostly Innovators and Early Adopters diving into this third wave of virtual reality attractions. At the annual IAAPA show last year in Orlando, there were over…
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Is VR The Key to the Escape Room Profit Puzzle?

Escape Rooms are the newest location-based entertainment segment to embrace virtual reality and one where the value proposition is the strongest. Escape rooms harken back to ancient Greece, where labyrinths were a part of mythology.  The athenian hero Theseus had to navigate a labyrinth to find and kill the Minotaur. Hedge mazes were popular with…
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Aquariums, Zoos and Science Centers – The Perfect Fit

For the last two weeks, I have been writing about how various locations should be looking at virtual reality to help narrow down the selection process of VR attractions. There are so many types of VR attractions now, with more coming on the market every month, that it can bewilder even the most experienced operator.…
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Theme Parks, Casinos and Malls – Where Does VR Make Sense?

Last week I wrote about how the attributes of your location can help inform the virtual reality attraction your select. I covered VR Arcades, Family Entertainment Centers, and Trampoline parks.  This week I continue this thinking and include Theme Parks, Shopping Centers, and Casinos. Theme Parks were early adopters of VR despite the inherent throughput…
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VR and Your Location – What Makes Sense?

Last week I wrote about how your capabilities as an operator are critical to selecting the best VR attraction for your business. (The email had formatting issues, so if you had trouble reading it, I have fixed it, and you can read it here.). From marketing to staffing, to technical prowess, your proficiency in these…
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The Capabilities Required to Operate a Profitable VR Attraction

Last week I wrote about the different categories of attractions; from single and multiplayer arcade to arena-scale, and multi-sensory free-roam systems, there’s a wide selection of products in a limitless range of prices. It can be overwhelming to decide what products to consider, and impossible to land on the one that makes the most sense…
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What VR Should You Buy? – The Attraction

There are four areas of consideration when looking at a VR attraction for your business. Last week, I wrote about how your experience, mindsets, and vision can help inform your selection of the perfect VR attraction. That post was about you, the operator. In the coming weeks, I will be writing about your customers and…
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The Operator

Last week, I wrote about the four categories of operators I see in the location-based entertainment industry.  The Spectator is sitting on the beach, watching other operators ride the third wave of VR, paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  The Follower is surfing the most crowded beaches; buying what everyone else is buying, figuring that…
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waves-on-the-beach

How To Select The Perfect Virtual Reality Attraction For Your Operation

One of the most frequent questions I get from operators is, “What VR attraction should I buy?” When I started writing about virtual reality in 2015, my skepticism was rooted in the last two VR waves I rode. In 1992 I helped launch Virtuality, building VR and laser tag arenas in malls across the US in…
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The Future of Virtual Reality is Here NOW

VR Update With Bob Cooney RePlay contributor and virtual reality aficionado Bob Cooney hosted a webinar on Jan. 31 for nearly 100 people, breaking down the “third wave” of virtual reality and emphasizing that “this time, things are different.” According to Cooney, virtual reality (and a little further down the road, augmented reality) is going to…
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The Virtual Reality Groundswell

https://www.replaymag.com/bob-cooney-on-vr-part-4-july-2018/ Part Four: Stormy Seas Calming Into Clear Opportunities for Operators The creation of waves requires wind to blow over the open ocean for long periods of time. The sea state inside a large storm is chaotic, with huge waves breaking in every direction. You’ve seen the dramatization in movies like The Perfect Storm, where…
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Innovating for Millennials

What You Need to Know to Get Them In Your Locations Bob Cooney on Millennials – March 2018 Millennials. If you ask anyone from previous generations about them, you’ll likely get a range of reactions from frustration to confusion to dismissal, often with eye-rolls thrown in for effect. However, the reality is that those born…
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VR Takes the Stage at Expo

Bob Cooney on VR at Amusement Expo – February 2018 Cooney Makes a Case for Why VR Belongs There & Urges Examination For the last twenty-five years, I’ve been observing the virtual reality market emerge, contract and emerge again. In 2015, I went to IAAPA to research an article for this publication in which I…
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The VR Scene

Bob Cooney on the VR Scene – December 2017 Tech Development Bodes Well for Arcade-Based VR For the last two years, I’ve been observing the virtual reality market develop. In 2015, I went to IAAPA to research an article for this publication that was intended to proclaim that the third try at VR was not…
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Sex & Violence In VR?

Bob Cooney on the VR Scene – October 2017 Self-Reflection Leads to Change In Game Perception As some of you might know, I’ve been on a personal journey over recent years that’s led me to re-examine my life in a pretty critical light. By most external measures, I have been very successful. I took my…
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Third Wave of VR Looks Like A Tsunami – Part Two

Bob Cooney on VR – April 2017 Part Two: Avoiding the “VR Arcade” Trap & Maximizing Its Potential  Editor’s note: Part One was published in the March 2017 issue and can be found online here. Last month, I wrote about why consumer VR might not present as significant a threat as many in the out-of-home entertainment industry…
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Third Wave of VR Looks Like A Tsunami – Part One

Bob Cooney on VR – March 2017 And If You’re Not Careful, You Could Get Swept Away – Part One Those who attended the fall IAAPA Expo in Orlando certainly felt the buzz around Virtual Reality. But unless you went to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, you probably didn’t get a…
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Virtual Reality’s Third Wave

Bob Cooney on the VR Scene – October 2017 Is the Third Time the Charm? Virtual Reality is hot. Lava hot. Kate Upton hot. Ryan Reynolds hot. But for those of you that don’t remember, we’ve been here before. In 1991, as I was getting ready to debut Laser Storm at the IAAPA show in…
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Can Amusement Games Save Gaming?

Bob Cooney on Skill-Based Gaming – February 2016 Recent Changes to Nevada Gaming Laws Will Lead to Opportunity, Confusion and Potentially Disaster for Some in the Amusement Industry Coin-op has struggled to hold onto relevance since the heddy days of the video game boom, while the market for home video games has exploded into a…
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