4 Minute Read
Right now is the perfect time to be in the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) business and more specifically, the game room business. Years of refinement by manufacturers, customers, distributors, prize vendors and many others have led the industry to a very enviable spot. In an entertainment landscape dominated by on-demand and at-home products, the FEC world is still viable as an affordable out-of-home entertainment option that isn’t easily replicated on a mobile phone or by delivery.
The incredible innovation by manufacturers is a big reason for this success. Arcade games have gotten more interactive and technologically sophisticated year after year and the trend is only getting stronger.
But there are some games that really need their own label. As the size of games and the promotion around them have increased, they’ve essentially become attractions. These “attractions” are a much bigger undertaking for Family Entertainment Centers. From unique shipping and installation needs to the footprint that they occupy, to the marketing plans necessary to maximize the impact of the new attraction, it’s important that FEC’s are prepared.
When you make the investment in these larger-scale games, you’ll have to consider the actual space you’ll need. In some instances, you are going to have to replace at least 3-4 games to free up the square footage for a new larger piece. Distributor trade-in and financing programs can help facilitate that process for your business.
Game position is also important; the exterior of these games is meant to grab attention and build up a crowd, so you’ll want to place it where there’ll be foot traffic and enough space for the crowd to gather. Before you purchase a new attraction, make sure you work with a CAD design team to help ensure the game is placed in the right spot and with the proper space allocation.
Buying a new game without promoting is like a tree falling in the woods, does it make a sound? You must let people know you have these games.
It is the responsibility of the location to draw awareness to the fact that these new games are in your center. To that end, many manufacturers are creating engaging content that you can repurpose for online advertising, social media and your website. You can find some great video content on our Youtube channel for instance. Raw Thrills, Bay Tek Entertainment, ICE, Stern Pinball, LAI Games and other manufacturers are active on social media so follow them and like/share their content.
Make sure you’re engaging with your audience and connecting your new equipment/attractions into that engagement loop. If someone takes a selfie at your location or with your new attraction, be sure to show them some love and like or share the post. Social media shouldn’t just be a one-way communication platform. If your customers are talking about your business, make sure that they know you appreciate it.
Give people a reason to come to your location. Offering a promotion specific to the new attraction is a great way to drive foot traffic into your facility. Get creative. Card systems allow a tremendous degree of flexibility in how games are priced and promoted. Leverage that flexibility and the excitement of having new equipment to create demand on slower traffic days.
Additionally, many centers are also incorporating these larger attraction type games into party packages. VR Rabbids is a great example of a short VR multi-player experience that provides a fast throughput to facilitate a party of 8-16 people. The same goes for Halo: Fireteam Raven, a great two or four-player at a time cooperative space adventure that would enhance any partygoer’s fun. Connect 4 Hoops makes for a perfect “king of mountain” style competition for a small group to engage in. These games not only really fun to play but they are fun to watch being played, so nobody feels left out for an extended time period.
New games can be attractions that drive traffic to your facility. You market other attractions, so start marketing your games as well. Ask us how we can help you select the right new attractions and market them to your valued customer base.
Please see links to additional information on these attractions below.
Halo: Fireteam Raven -
Virtual Rabbids: The Big Ride -
LAI has put together some great tips on how to market the game here.
Connect 4 Hoops – Product page for Connect 4 Hoops
Bay Tek videos here.
Jonathan Betti is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Betson Enterprises. Jon and the Betson team are focused on providing customer-centric products and solutions for the location-based entertainment business. Jon is passionate about the arcade space and has worked with manufacturers to develop several successful game concepts. He is also a board member of the AAMA Charitable Foundation.