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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple friends and I are thinking of opening a business where people can come to play video games (360/PS3/Wii) with large flat screen TVs. You could also bring in a PC/laptop and LAN-party with other people. We are also thinking of making it a game store as well (new/used, buy/sell).


My question is, what would you want out of a place like this? Would this type of environment interest you? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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hate to burst your bubble, but i've already seen a few of these come and go in my town.
 

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Make it an internet cafe to appeal to the mainstream, and add a 'gaming section' where you have higher end computers loaded with the latest games along with all the major consoles 360/PS3/Wii. Then have another dedicated area to the side where you sell coffee/drinks and light snacks.
 

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Well, I haven't seen any in my town. And with games becoming so huge, as long as there AREN'T many already, that kind of business could do well. Kind of like a new arcade. The more things available in one store, the better-yes food. Pizza maybe. Also if you could get a copy of a new game before it's released. All I'm saying is: If I could meet up with my fellow gamers to check out a new game before it's released, and grab a slice, I'd be there.
 

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I had thought about this in well, while I'm not going to say it's not doable like others may, I will throw out some things you need to consider / address (you don't need to respond here, I'm just trying to give you ideas):


First and foremost - Who would be your target market? How would you attract them and retain them?


Online Gaming - With most newer games now offering gamers the ability to play with others from the comfort of their own home, what would your business offer that would compel them to leave that AND PAY more to play?


How would you charge and monitor payment?


Is it possible your gaming center might become a mini-'daycare' drop off? What I mean is will parents be dropping their 13 year olds off for the day?


I think that the possibility for a gaming type center to be successful is certainly a reality, however, I do believe you need a radically altered business plan than many of the past 'cafes' used as most of them are becoming non-existent. Check out your local librarly, search for business plans of internet cafes, visit www.sba.gov , and all other business starting websites. Also look and see if your county / state has any non-profit companies that help small businesses!


In short, like any business, you need to offer something truly unique and exciting withing your gaming center.


Good luck, hope it helps!
 

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By chance are you actually old enough to get a loan? You come across as a teen or thereabouts...


If so have you done your research and checked out how other similar places work etc? Have you drawn up a business plan on how you plan to buy all the equipment?..deal with the insurance?, the potentially huge store/utilities fees? How will you deal with payroll etc? How many people can you pay to help run it? What about possible security issues..i'd think the clientel that goes to a place like this might have sticky fingers etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Lizardo /forum/post/14227331


By chance are you actually old enough to get a loan? You come across as a teen or thereabouts...


If so have you done your research and checked out how other similar places work etc? Have you drawn up a business plan on how you plan to buy all the equipment?..deal with the insurance?, the potentially huge store/utilities fees? How will you deal with payroll etc? How many people can you pay to help run it? What about possible security issues..i'd think the clientel that goes to a place like this might have sticky fingers etc...

My friends and I are in our 30s.


I actually have done a business plan in school for something similar to the aforementioned "Internet Cafe" that we were told, most emphatically, would succeed. I plan on incorporating some but not all of that business plan.


We are in the initial stages of discussing this.
 

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I wish you good luck! As a warning, in my city I have seen many of these style of operations fail. Often pretty spectacularly. In fact, of the 6 or 7 that I have seen pop up in the last 8 years locally, a grand total of zero are still located in the city. Only one is even in operation, but now in some other town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by masterrh /forum/post/14227298


I had thought about this in well, while I'm not going to say it's not doable like others may, I will throw out some things you need to consider / address (you don't need to respond here, I'm just trying to give you ideas):


First and foremost - Who would be your target market? How would you attract them and retain them?

We live in a college town, so we could definitely aim for college students. Our area is unique in that in some of the commercialized areas, decent sized neighborhoods are literally right around the corner. So getting a variety of customers is possible with the right location. There are also plenty of student housing complexes within this area that have private bus service. We can always try to find an in with them to get a drop off run at say 8-9 with a pickup at 2-3 am.


Online Gaming - With most newer games now offering gamers the ability to play with others from the comfort of their own home, what would your business offer that would compel them to leave that AND PAY more to play?

We would offer displays that they might not have in their home (50-60 inch displays). The ability to hang out with their friends while they play. We could offer clan-play to some degree.


How would you charge and monitor payment?

Still working this out, but I have a few ideas.

Is it possible your gaming center might become a mini-'daycare' drop off? What I mean is will parents be dropping their 13 year olds off for the day?

I welcome the 13 year-olds. I would've jumped at the chance to go to a place like this when I was 13. There will be certain limitations that will have to be adhered too (such as no one under 18 without a parent after say 8:00)


I think that the possibility for a gaming type center to be successful is certainly a reality, however, I do believe you need a radically altered business plan than many of the past 'cafes' used as most of them are becoming non-existent. Check out your local librarly, search for business plans of internet cafes, visit www.sba.gov , and all other business starting websites. Also look and see if your county / state has any non-profit companies that help small businesses!

I agree. I think you need to find a way to tie yourself into the community. Work with the schools, the parents. Maybe some youth centers. I have an affiliation with the Boys & Girls Club in this area that I could probably put to use.


In short, like any business, you need to offer something truly unique and exciting withing your gaming center.


Good luck, hope it helps!

Rich
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames /forum/post/14227420


I wish you good luck! As a warning, in my city I have seen many of these style of operations fail. Often pretty spectacularly. In fact, of the 6 or 7 that I have seen pop up in the last 8 years locally, a grand total of zero are still located in the city. Only one is even in operation, but now in some other town.

What would you say was the reason for their downfall?
 

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"What would you say was the reason for their downfall?"


Off the top of my head? Lack of community interest in what they were offering. In my city of 84,000 people, with an average household income in the $61,000 range, we just didn't care about what they offered. They couldn't compete with Gamestop in the used/trade business while maintaining profitablility. They didn't advertise well enough. Hell, the only one that didn't go down in flames and just moved instead (to a far poorer area), didn't offer DS/GBA games. How the hell do you not offer games for the biggest platform on the planet, especially when your target clientele are people that would be far more likely to own said portable systems over home consoles? I really could go on and on about what was wrong with the business models of each location.


The only chain that was successful in the area (greater Seattle) was Lanwerx. They collapsed in 2004. The time for internet/gaming cafes in North America/Europe was 1997-2003. You're a decade late to this market. It has already evaporated. Unless we are talking about Asia, Middle East or Eastern Europe, in which case you probably have another decade in which this is a viable business venture.


And yes, I have personally managed 8 individual retail locations across varying fields. In most cases I have left the business in better condition than I found it.
I can pick apart businesses pretty well.
 

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We have a place in Portland that is established, so there's no doubt it can work if positioned right.

http://www.backspace.bz/


They don't do everything the way you would, but might give you some ideas on services and pricing, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreyM /forum/post/14227611


We have a place in Portland that is established, so there's no doubt it can work if positioned right.

http://www.backspace.bz/


They don't do everything the way you would, but might give you some ideas on services and pricing, etc.


Thanks for the link. There is a place in the area that seems to be doing OK, but they're focus is mostly PC gaming with a smidgen of console gaming, and I'd like to go the other way. Backspace seems the same way, but all info is useful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames /forum/post/14227606


"What would you say was the reason for their downfall?"


Off the top of my head? Lack of community interest in what they were offering. In my city of 84,000 people, with an average household income in the $61,000 range, we just didn't care about what they offered. They couldn't compete with Gamestop in the used/trade business while maintaining profitablility. They didn't advertise well enough. Hell, the only one that didn't go down in flames and just moved instead (to a far poorer area), didn't offer DS/GBA games. How the hell do you not offer games for the biggest platform on the planet, especially when your target clientele are people that would be far more likely to own said portable systems over home consoles? I really could go on and on about what was wrong with the business models of each location.


The only chain that was successful in the area (greater Seattle) was Lanwerx. They collapsed in 2004. The time for internet/gaming cafes in North America/Europe was 1997-2003. You're a decade late to this market. It has already evaporated. Unless we are talking about Asia, Middle East or Eastern Europe, in which case you probably have another decade in which this is a viable business venture.


And yes, I have personally managed 8 individual retail locations across varying fields. In most cases I have left the business in better condition than I found it.
I can pick apart businesses pretty well.

I am not looking to be a cafe in any capacity. Will I offer food? Most definitely, but I don't want that to define my business. If I had to put a tag on it, "Video Arcade of the 21st Century" might be a better title. I am looking into a bunch of different things, looking at how different combinations from other similar businesses could make for a unique place. I'm definitely doing my homework and not going to rush into this. Thanks for your insight. It's the reason I posted here in the first place. I think not using the internet in this capacity is asking for failure.


I may pick your brain later if you don't mind?
 

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Affordable gaming PCs, cheap broadband and online, very affordable consoles are the reason the 3 places in my town folded up that use to offer that service. I wish you luck but IMO, anyone who's that much into gaming that they would frequent an establishment such as that, would buy their own equipment if it meant not buying food to do so.
 

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Ya we had a few of these types of places open up here and they are never around very long. most of the people that do alot of gaming would have bought their own gear.


but good luck, the right location will make or break you lol
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockheede /forum/post/14227466


There will be certain limitations that will have to be adhered too (such as no one under 18 without a parent after say 8:00)

This seems like you would be shooting yourself in the foot by doing this. Why would you do this? Liability reasons? I don't understand this one at all. Think about the demographic. Older gamers are more likely to be working, therefore are more likely to be able to afford a nice flat panel and a current gen system. But high school kids and younger are less likely to be out working enough to be buying nice TVs, so it seems like they would end up being your core market.


How big of a building are you thinking of doing? If it was a smallish building it would get really hot in there with all of the running electronics. That would be a turn off for me. If you have the space, it would be cool if you had a room for each system, i.e. a 360 room, PS3 room, Wii room, ps2/xbox room, PC room, Rock Band/Guitar Hero room (perhaps a basement area to suppress some of the noise, and throwback systems room (Dreamcast, SNES, 64, etc.)


What would you do about the competing sounds of a bunch of games being played in the same room? In the same building?


If you are able to get this thing going (good luck!), I would suggest getting in contact with the college and high schools in your town and setting up a LAN party/RB/GH/Halo tourney through them. Let the school set things up tourney wise and you provide the venue. It would bring in a lot of people who may not otherwise drop into your business and it would help build your customer base. Just a few thoughts
 

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I'll discourage you, too. The only people you'll make money on are post-college graduates working their first or second job, before marriage and children consume all their free time. This group will only be looking to game on weekends and occasionally evenings. And as James said, if they're serious about LAN gaming they have the money for big time home theater setups. Your daytime clientele, if any, will be broke high schoolers and even broker college students.


Factor in $4 a gallon gas and falling prices on big screen TVs and you'll have a hard time getting people out of their homes to the arcade. And you can pretty much forget the used game game; Gamestop has so thoroughly saturated the market that their own stores are competing with each other.


I just see a plan to try and do a whole bunch of things poorly, and not one that really fills a big need in the market. I'm sorry to be pessimistic, but I hate to see you lose a lot of money on a bad business venture (done it myself, very depressing).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames /forum/post/14228601


There really is a reason that all of the arcades went away last decade...

he's right!


and don't forget to factor in the high price of gas, and the fact that more and more people are going out less because of it...
 
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