02-27-2017 12:07 PM - edited 02-27-2017 12:40 PM
Hello arcade operators and developers!
With GDC happening this week, we've got new information about the Viveport Arcade program to share. Here's a new article by Venturebeat that covers off a lot of information.
This section, I'm pretty sure, will be important to you:
"Operators will pay HTC for points, which equate to a certain amount of time. As the consumer plays the Vive titles, points will be deducted from the operator’s total point reserve. As an example, the rate in the US is $10 for 1,000 points. Those 1,000 points give the operator a total of 60 minutes of playtime.
If the operator purchases 10,000 points for $100, he or she has 10 hours (600 minutes) of total playtime. If one title is played for 600 minutes, that one developer splits the $100 with HTC."
We've also opened up a new page for more information here: https://developer.viveport.com/us/arcade/
Here's some relevant info screencapped on pricing for other territories:
(As it says there, if you want to know about pricing in other countries, contact email@example.com - I don't have that info.)
Finally! We are opening private forums for arcade operators to talk, both with each other and with HTC employees. These will be up in a few days, but for now, if you want to gain access to these forums, please leave me a quick note in this thread (or send me a PM) so I can begin to compile a list of usernames.
02-27-2017 01:08 PM
thanks a lot for the update. It's way too pricey in my opinion. Charging the customer 10€ (for HTC and developers only) plus another 20€ to cover all other costs won't work well in my area ( rural Ireland). People won't pay that amount again and again. They will once, but thats it.
It seems to work to work out cheaper and more economic to use the already expensive Steam system with individual licenses...
HTC should make it a bit easier for arcade operators. They and also the developers taking a lot of risk starting the businesses wiyhout knowing how long the novelty will last...
02-27-2017 01:15 PM
I forgot to mention, please keep me in the loop as weel for the Viveport news!!
Thanks a lot!
02-27-2017 02:48 PM
Thanks for your post, @EireSquare1. Bear in mind the prices quoted above are examples. I think in reality a lot of people won't spend an hour in VR - especially in an arcade. Bear in mind many of the apps on Viveport Arcade, including games, will be special arcade versions that are designed for a quick play experience.
So, you could charge $10 (or Euros, sorry I don't have that on my keyboard :) ) and then the player could 'spend' that 60m over a number of sessions.
That said, I'd love to hear feedback based on your (or others) maths on this. If it's cheaper to go with Steam, please lay it out for us and I guarantee your feedback will be shared.
03-01-2017 01:03 AM
Please add me to the list for the forum for arcade operators. We are opening at the beginning of April and it is always interesting to hear what other operators are doing. While we have been waiting anxiously for prices on the Viveport Arcade I must agree that it is pricey. It will be interesting to see what others think.
03-10-2017 07:27 AM
03-12-2017 01:11 AM - edited 03-12-2017 07:00 AM
In my opinion, way to expensive. 10 USD/h is much more expensive than current the most expensive Steam licenses. Let’s say, average computer use is 6h/day, 28 days/month so the cost for one computer would be 1680 USD/month, crazy. With such money is possible to have quite nice set of licenses from Steam, even with their expensive prices. Yes, I know, it is access not to just one game, but hundreds or even thousands of games but... in one minute, one person play only one game, so it is not important how big library is, bigger library just keep customers longer interested... and there is no games worth 10 USD/h especially that this is not the only cost. How about according to your guide 20 m2 space for one customer (4.5x4.5), how about stuff, how about computers and other equipment amortization, how about other costs. To pay all costs, the price for customer will have to be about 25-27 EUR/h and it is more than people want to pay and return for more. I believe the maximum money returning customer going to pay is less than 20 EUR/h , probably even close to 15 EUR/h , no more.
03-14-2017 03:38 PM
Thanks for all the feedback here. Passing it on!
@BlairBryngelson (and others) - the forum isn't actually live yet. I spoke too soon on that, sorry. When it's up, I'll make sure to add all who've requested.
@Radek, on your concerns - do you think most consumers will want a full hour in VR? Generally, VR experiences can be pretty intense over short periods. I know 30m of playing Raw Data was pretty tough on me! I'm just wondering if your pricing should adjust in that regard, with a higher amount for a lower period of time.
As a sort-of comparative example, the Dave and Busters' chain here in the US charges $10 for an hour of play during special promotional periods (4:30pm to 7pm on weekdays). That's for 'normal' arcade games, although it includes higher-end simulators and the like. With VR being a newer and more intensive experience, perhaps it's reasonable to expect to charge more.
Of course, you know your market and what you feel the market will bear. That's why we want to open this up to discussion and your opinions, whether negative, positive or neutral, are definitely welcome!
03-15-2017 01:20 PM
Thank you for taking the time to respond to people's concerns and questions.
Dave and Buster's may charge this but they serve food and alcohol to help offset the cost of their business. Also, they have brand recognition and millions in revenue. It's not really comparable to a small business that may be looking to add Vive to their showcase, or me who would like to start a mobile company serving parties and/or events. Also, that $10 includes a profit margin for D & B (or their drink/food budget covers losses). Viveport owners would have to build their profit margin into their pricing. This could conceivably increase the cost to the consumer three-fold.
I agree that players will likely not go 30 minutes straight, so pricing seems worse in these scenarios. I may be willing to pay $7 - $10 for 15 minutes of play time, but I would likely not be a repeat customer.
For instance, in my circumstance, I will book a party and charge a flat rate per hour. This is fine as long as I'm only running one unit ($10 license fee). However, with parties of 10 or more I would likely have to run two to provide enough customer hands-on use per person ($20 license fee). Ideally, I would run four units (like Youtube's Node) for co-op gaming. Now I'm looking at $40 an hour in license fees to have four people play the same title at the same time.
Also, unless I'm mistaken, to run Viveport you have to purchase the "Business Edition" which is $400 more than the consumer edition. Granted, it contains a cord extender and a dedicated customer support line, but is that $400 in value? Maybe it should come standard with the Deluxe Audio Strap and/or the upcoming wireless TPCAST.
03-15-2017 06:04 PM
Hi @dphtx, thanks for chiming in.
You're absolutely right about Dave & Buster's having other revenue streams, and that's almost certainly a big part, if not the majority of their revenue. I honestly picked them at random looking for a chain - I didn't even realize they were doing VR until I saw it on their site!
Pricing is always going to be hard to pin down globally, as it's a classic case of 'paying what the market will bear'. I've seen pricing on VR experiences go up to $10 for 15m, but you might be right, it may not encourage repeat business. Perhaps there could be a loyalty scheme or something similar for repeat customers to help them save money, and to keep money coming in.
That applies more to a fixed location of course, so in your case with a mobile / party-based company, that might not be practical. I'm going to double (triple) check on your pricing there, because for some reason I think there might be some variance (no-one's here for me to ask right now!). However, $40 an hour... doesn't seem that crazy to me. If I was a party organizer and was being told (for example) I'd need to pay, say, $200 flat fee for rental, $50 per hour for 4 units... for say two hours... $300 to entertain a lot of guests doesn't seem crazy to me. But then again, I haven't organized many parties. :)
Regarding Business Edition, I'm going to double check on that for you as well.
03-16-2017 11:18 AM
Regarding the Business Edition, I found this in the Arcade Operator FAQ (which is here). Emphasis mine:
For territories where the hardware is not yet distributed or if operators choose not to use the commercial units, the Viveport Arcade platform is compatible with the consumer units however operators should note the warranty and service will not apply.
Obviously, that's a risk - the lack of warranty - but there's the official line.
03-16-2017 11:40 AM
Another example I saw today, just food for thought...
The Los Angeles Natural History Museum is doing a temporary VR exhibit using TheBlu, everyone's favorite VR-intro. They list it as a 6 minute experience, and are charging $8 for museum members, $10 for non-members (that's on top of the regular ticket price for entrance to the museum).
Under the same installation using Viveport Arcade, assuming that 6m runtime, you'd be spending 100 points/$1 every time you ran the VR experience for people. Obviously, other running costs would be added on to that, but does a potential $9 profit seem reasonable?
Of course, this is a specific example based on TheBlu, but I'd certainly have that in rotation if I was opening an arcade to the public. :)
03-16-2017 12:40 PM
I believe customers will stay a full hour in VR if the price is right, if content is interesting and if they are returning customers not just someone who want to try how this whole VR looks like. Yes, being in VR, may be intensive, but I saw many people who even don’t like normal computer games but easily spends much more than one hour in VR, when they find something they like… but once again, the price matter.
The best answer for your question is that not only "I believe", I also hope that they going to stay. If not, I’m worried, VRcade industry (at least HTC Vive version) will die before it really starts. I live in quite touristic area, tourists spend lots of money for pleasure, can buy ice cream for 5 EUR, can pay 10 EUR for 5 minutes VR Space Pirate Trainer experience and queue. I saw it last summer, people waiting in long line to spend their 10 eur, it was possible last summer but such things not going to happen in future. There is WOW factor when you are trying VR first time, but it is going to be more and more common. People try VR this way or another, not only HTC, Oculus or Sony but with their mobile phones. Quality? It doesn’t matter for them if they just want to “try” or even they going to believe, the quality is same… so they not going spend their money for 5-10 minutes experience, if they can have it “for free” with their own mobiles or they still can try short and high quality FREE experience in shops selling VR equipment. There are more and more places like that. I don’t believe there is a future for short and intensive experiences (or there is but, for extremely high quality experience in amusement parks, not HTC Vive like "semi pro") . Profits will come from players who want to spend some longer time repeatedly but because of some reasons can’t have their own VR system in home.
Also, I think belief that people stay longer in VR is essential to HTC Arcade subscription idea. If I have just not returning customers who want to spend their 5-10 minutes in VR with intensive experience, I don’t need lots of content. Even better to not have lots of content, so people don’t need to think too much, 3-4 different games/ experiences is enough, even better one on each machine and that’s all, can pay individual licenses, about 30-50 euro/month each and people are happy. There is no reason to pay $10/h just to give people a choice they don’t want. Simple is better. Only someone who is going to spend “hours” needs big content library, but not with such big price. It fits also to your example about theBlue, why pay $1 for each customer if you can buy commercial license for theBlue for I guess about $30-$40/month (or maybe even less).
Continuing about pricing… I noticed that HTC Vive individual subscription price is going to be $6.99 for a month. I guess the content in individual subscription and Vive Arcade subscription going to be very similar… am I right? $6.99/month VS $10.00/hour is huge different. Yes, I know one is individual licensing another is commercial, but who is paying all costs in the end? Sponsors? Arcade operators? Of course not, always, the end customers are paying everything so from the one hand HTC calculate that the person who own VR system in home, will pay $6.99/month to have unlimited access to content and in same time HTC expecting that someone who doesn’t own VR system will pay $10.00/hour for access to the same content (plus of course other costs, plus VAT I guess), impossible. Hmm… I can easy imagine that it would have much more sense if arcade operator does not provide content at all, just rent hardware and place, and user could use totally legally his own subscription than pay additional $10/hour for content he can have for just $6.99/month. Of course, I’m not expecting commercial subscription will cost same as the individual one, but $6.99/month vs over $1000.00/month… it is not going to work. I believe the fair price would be 10 times less, about $1/h, then it would be comparable with individual subscription plan and individual commercial licenses cost.
I still hope before the final announcement the prices will be recalculated to more realistic level, in the other case, as I wrote Steam prices seems to be much nicer even if they are still extremely high in some cases.