Are you a player?

GamerGamer subscriber Posts: 2
edited February 2007 in Selecting a Business
I`m just wanting to get some idea of how friendly you guys are to this type of business. My dream is to own a computer gaming zone. A place where you can go and pay to play pc games on high end computer systems with friends in the store or with people across the world. Kinda like a high tech arcade that is networked so that you are competing with the people around you. There are very few of this type of business in most areas. So i`m kinda worried that people may not want to pay to play.On the other hand there are online games like World of warcraft that have over 8 million members paying monthly fees.Do any of you have any experince in the type of business?Does it sound like it would be to risky to start up?I know there are not many of these but have any of you ever been to one before or payed to play?Thanks for you advice and ideas.

Comments

  • SHCSAndrewSHCSAndrew subscriber Posts: 0
    Gamer,I owned and operated game centers (PC`s, Xbox 360`s) very recently. I am also in the process of consulting a former employee of that same game center, and six more individuals/partnerships towards opening up their own franchises, which will launch in May of this year. I have about 6 years of total experience in this relatively new orphan industry (I`ll explain that later if you`d like to talk some more). Like any business, there are ups and downs, but the nature of this type of business makes every decision especially critical to the success or failure of the venture. Also, as I`ve seen in examples of gaming centers around the country, UNDER-CAPITALIZATION WILL RUIN YOU even if you`re posting up some great positive cashflow numbers, or if your market research tells you that you will make these numbers realistically. The biggest snippet of free advice I can hand out to you right now is  to separate yourself from the idea that "I think like a gamer, so I know what gamers want!" Nope. Doesn`t apply here. And believe me, 99% of game center owners guarantee their success on this ideal alone. 99% of those guys are either broke/bankrupt or will be within their first one and a half years into it.Which brings me to another point...everything you think you know about market research has got to change. This is a very fickle buying populous that you are looking at, and you want to know where the money is REALLY coming from and where it NORMALLY goes. That`s the key for you right now.Don`t be prepared to make huge money from your store. Usually, game centers are able to employ no more than 2 people besides owner/operators. That figure cuts it close, but can change depending on your local demographics. We`d need to speak at a further time about that one. The real money in this business is derived from franchising your model/system. Because it is such a young industry, as I stated earlier, our model has no direct competition.If you do it right and maintain a clear head about things, you can build a very nice business for yourself. As with all things in the game center business, there`s a disclaimer to that: easier said than done. If you need any further advice, or have interest in carrying on this conversation, go ahead to reply in this thread. I`ll share my contact info with you then. If you feel like you can soldier on ahead without any further assistance, I wish you the absolute best of luck! Cheers!
  • GamerGamer subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks Andrew I am needing all the advice I can get. Right now this is just an idea in my head. Me and my wife were doing an life enrighment program and it talked alot about how happy you are at work. I asked if you were not getting payed at your job would you still work there. My wife loves her job as a teacher but i`v been doing sales for almost 8 years just because i`m good at it. I would quit my job in a second if they stoped paying me. So my wife and I sat down and decided we wanted to open a gaming center. Ever since then I have been trying to learn all I can and find out what I need to do to make it happen so any adivce you can give would be a great help no matter how basic. I`m years away from opening the doors I just want to get my ducks in a row and set some goals that will prepair me to do some real planing and fund rasing.I see what you mean to I had never thought of it that way. When you do a google search for Auto Center or Book Store you get a huge list of shops trying to sell you things. When you do a search for Internet Cafe or Gaming Zones you get a huge list of people trying to show you how to set one up. Gamer2007-2-27 13:10:16
  • SHCSAndrewSHCSAndrew subscriber Posts: 0
    Gamer,Happy to see that you`re actually putting some critical thinking time into this before you pursue anything. There`s no such thing as overplanning in the game center business, and you`re approaching it cautiously, which is highly recommended. About these internet cafe/gaming center consultants, don`t waste your money. If you really take some time to think about it...these people aren`t building centers of their own for obvious reasons: they don`t know how to make money off of it. There`s a reason they`re comfortable with the consultant role...NO RISK! These guys are dirtbags and I wouldn`t give them the time of day.If you want some good, solid advice from someone who has both failed and succeeded in this industry, I`ll be more than glad to help.I can tell you now, in your early stages of planning, finding startup capital will be your biggest challenge, and in most cases, an insurmountable wall that will completely stall your efforts unless you can sufficiently self-fund. The problem here is that a large majority of traditional funding sources (banks) will absolutely refuse to entertain any idea of funding you after hearing that you want to open a "game center". There`s a certain stigma attached to this business that you`re going to have to learn to overcome. A couple of years ago I was able to help an interested individual in acquiring an SBA loan for his game center. It was no easy task, but nowhere near impossible. Get your business ducks in a row before you get your gaming ducks in a row!As a general rule of thumb, especially in this industry, you`ll find the three F`s works wonders: Friends, family, and fools. These groups of people will be more inclined to draw from your passion for the idea rather than make decisions on your pro forma data. You also want to get affiliated! If your focus is PC Gaming, let me be the first to tell you that licensing is no easy task. Xbox and Playstation are even more difficult, with the latter typically being unattainable. If you need to know where to go for this info, or require help in securing licensing for your center, I know of many great resources and I can point you in the right direction.We can talk more about specifics in private, but for now, keep this in mind: as in any business situation, be prepared to lose your investment. This is a VERY sensitive industry and most of the time, these businesses don`t succeed. You can avoid these dream-crushing pitfalls with prudent planning and level-headed vision. Let`s talk some more. E-mail me at [email protected])
  • GamerGamer subscriber Posts: 2
    I am in love with this webpage. I was up allnight last night watching vidoes and reading all the great information here.Thanks again Andrew i`ll shoot you a email.
  • nothinglikeitnothinglikeit subscriber Posts: 27
    wow Campsteve. you gave me my first shout out! When you do open I can definately suppy games. I`ll see if I can provide information for a gaming center when I get off work and have more time to respond
  • GamerGamer subscriber Posts: 2
    Nice I look foward to hearing about it.
  • nothinglikeitnothinglikeit subscriber Posts: 27
    You know I had a brainstrom. I loved the arcades back in the 90s,, they`ve since died out here unfortunately. I`m not sure why, but I blame the console movement. No one really cares about the social aspect of gaming much more. I mean where`s the trash talking, where`s the competition of beating an actual opponent. Not online but face to face? I think that it would be awesome to take the concept of LAN multi player and put them in a room. I think you could further separate yourself by keeping your place clean. Yes clean. White Castle made a fortune by making the greasy hamburger seem like sanitary meal alternatives to moms. So many arcades I visited were run down and looked really unclean. Add stuff like a coffee bar or a juice bar and you`ve got a really cool hangout spot. Espousing the social element (which is lacking in American gaming today) is the key. I would suggest you look at gaming in Asia. Arcades are huge in Japan and Korea. Gaming cafe`s are plentiful, look at what they do right you`ll find lots of help there. There`s a document called "The Online/Downloadable games Whitepaper 2004" It`s available on the Igda.org website. It`s mostly about what type of games people buy online. But you may find some value in that.
  • GamerGamer subscriber Posts: 2
    Thanks man i`ll check into it and let ya know!
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