The tech-savvy community at Slashdot.org in 2006 had an interesting post and comments on the viability of a Gaming Cafe and what branding, culture and services have shown to work.
Re:Yes we have one. (Score:5, Insightful)
by Orangejesus (898961) on Friday August 11, @11:56PM (#15893072)
you have to understand that most people don’t go to gaming cafes for the games perse, they go for the social interaction, they go to play with their friends and be able to yell at them, they go to hang out with people with similar intrests. I have a better PC than the local place I go to game at and so do most of my friends, but it’s easier to spend a few bucks and just go to the gaming place down the street than drag a bunch of computers around and fool with networking them and making sure everyone has the same version of what we want to play and working cd keys and ect. the gaming place I go to is open 24/7 and after 5 hours is free, (5 an hour) So it’s pretty common for us to just go and set up shop and do an overnight there playing till the wee hours of the morning. When I was on break from college one summer about 6 of us litterally lived up there for almost a week straight sleeping on the couches and ordering pizza. I mean we probably didn’t smell very good by the end of the week but it still ranks as one of the most fun times i’ve ever had. The key to a good gaming place is to make it somewhere that people just want to go to hang out and escape and not be bugged. I don’t know how long this place will last but it’s been open for over 5 years now and it’s just a small 10 computer place in a small town. the key is that the owner is a cool guy, he lets people play sometimes if they are a little short or he’ll let them owe him and ect. people like him people like the others who play there, people keep coming back and the place stays full all the time.
Re:Yes we have one. (Score:5, Informative)
by DarkMantle (784415) on Friday August 11, @11:57PM (#15893075)
There’s a place in town here (Cambridge Ontario Canada) That does fairly well (open for a year now) They use memberships for people that want to play regularly to make most of their rent. They also have food/drink there (pop and chips kind of stuff) and gamer and geek T-Shirts as well (similar to Think Geek [thinkgeek.com]). The WiFi is cool, secure it though so you can control who’s on it better. There’s another one in London Ontario that has a “Internet Cafe” in the front, so people can check email and surf the web. Then the back room is the gamer room. Combine the front Internet cafe style with a bit of a real cafe (watch out for the licensing if you’re selling food/drink you make there) with a few tables at it so people can grab a coffee and do a quick email check on their own laptop/PDA while there would be a neat idea as well. Best advice is to look at the area and ask what is needed. Maybe hang out near the local EB Games for a day or two and ask people as they’re leaving/entering if they’d fill out a 5 question survey about it. You may be able to avoid the mistakes the other places made.
wwtdd (Score:5, Informative)
by antiphoton (821735) on Friday August 11, @11:23PM (#15892941)
I live in Brisbane, Australia, and gaming cafe’s are quite popular in the major cities. I know of at least four around inner city brisbane that have been open for years and are quite successful. From my observations their main revenue intake is based around these key concepts: 1. Location 2. Word of mouth Location is imperical, and you need to strike deals/lan nights to get word of mouth generation. Setting up shop near a school (preferably private school) can sometimes make this type of business a success, as i’ve seen in Brisbane. If you start all nighters and events it will generate a decent amount of friends telling other friends and so on to bring in business and customers. Anyway, these are just a few suggestions i’m guessing you already know about, hope it helps. PS: If you have the room, get a pool table!
depends on how you do it (Score:4, Insightful)
by grapeape (137008)
on Friday August 11, @11:33PM (#15892978)
I had entertained that idea myself for a while but after going to ones outside my immediate area but within driving distance one thing I observed was that while they all mostly started out great with good staff, top of the line machines, local advertising, a pleasant atmosphere and a good selection of games, within a year or so most are pits with low staffing, unkept facilities, outdated machines and poor selection of games. I dont know if their budgets run out, or if they just found that the majority didnt care about the latest and greatest so it wasnt worth the investment. One theory is that those that are hardcore games already have systems as good or better at home
I did find a few things I would do differently, for one I would like to see a bank of printers, scanners, etc so that during certain hours (maybe school hours and few after that, the machines could actually be used for study, business etc. I also thought of adding a gamestop type game exchange with maybe a points program for time rented and maybe tournaments and contests (monthly high score, etc). Another idea would be to have certain nights that are 18+ and special events on a monthly basis. For rental time I wanted to use a keycard system like gemstar to keep track of time and charges. I had also thought about working out an advertising/sales deal with a local vendor to help with equipment costs.
I wrote an entire business plan but then got a job offer I couldnt pass up and just kind of threw it aside for now. I belive “cyber cafe’s” are viable here but they need more of a hook than just “PC’s for rent”.