VR Arenas are returning to 70% of their pre-lockdown revenues as the U.S. reopens — a positive indicator for the live music industry’s eventual comeback.
Virtuix, the creator of the ‘Omni Arena’ virtual reality eSports attraction, says its reopening has resulted in a revenue surge. Virtuix says since its locations have reopened, it has recorded a 120% increase in gameplay sessions. And tellingly, most venues have experienced the most significant increase in new visitors during the second week of reopening. The data was shared with Digital Music News this morning.
Perhaps most encouraging — venues open three weeks or longer are at 95% of pre-lockdown gameplay sessions.
That means three weeks into it, ‘Omni Arena’ venues are seeing near pre-pandemic levels of attendance. These venues are averaging $2,400 in revenue per week — about 70% of pre-lockdown levels.
“We have not seen hesitation by guests to play virtual reality again,” Kai Evans, owner of Adventure Park in Lubbock, Texas says. “Guests are comfortable as long as you keep everything clean.” While most states are in some phase of reopening, social distancing guidelines are still in place.
The only kicker: VR Arenas are one of the few socially distant activities you can do. The 360-degree nature of the VR treadmill means all participants are automatically socially distanced. That’s a bit harder with live music at bars, concerts, and live music festivals.
Still, the early data from Virtuix proves people aren’t as wary as many initial surveys presumed. When asked in April if they would attend any live music show in 2020, 90% of respondents said no. Live events in the United States are currently canceled at least through September, with many artists rescheduling entire tours into 2021.
But these early numbers from venues with VR arenas are encouraging. “We’re all climbing out of a dark hole,” Virtuix CEO Jan Goetgeluk says. “The data is encouraging and shows that all is not lost. Together as an industry, we can get past this setback.”