The location-based entertainment industry came to a halt last year, but for at least one VR arcade startup, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. HOLOGATE, a VR arcade technology company based in Germany, has announced the opening of its first large-format facility this year.
Hologate World, as we know the company, has announced that its flagship location in Fürth, Germany, will open in September 2021 in the newly renovated FLAIR Galerie mall. Hologate has licensed its turnkey VR technology and proprietary games to other facilities since its founding in 2017, making Hologate World an expansion towards a larger, more ambitious franchise model.
Hologate World, which spans 1,200 square meters, said to feature virtual reality games, augmented reality escape rooms, a Sports Arena, and "several proprietary entertainment experiences that will make their world premieres at the opening." A bar, a lounge with food service, and both indoor and outdoor gathering areas will include.
Concept art for Hologate World | Image courtesy of Hologate
The company claims that its flagship location in Fürth, near Nuremberg, is a “blueprint for additional franchise locations looking for a modern entertainment facility to get people off their couches and back into their retail and hospitality locations.”
On that note, Hologate hopes that their increased hygiene standards will help patrons gain confidence in the company, which they established in May 2020 to prepare for the reopening of their 400+ licensed venues.
It's unclear how well the larger LBE industry will fare this year, but many VR arcades are likely to face an uphill battle because of the need for prominent locations, which results in low throughput and high operating costs. While Hologate appears to have weathered the storms of 2020, many virtual reality arcades have not.
Sandbox VR, one of the most well-funded turnkey businesses, ran into trouble in August 2020 when its US-based subsidiary Glostation USA Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After reorganization, it has since emerged from Chapter 11 and hopes to resume operations once things are back to normal.
The VOID, another big name in location-based VR, has had its share of problems after reportedly defaulting on a loan and having an important IP contract with Disney ended late last year.