Last year saw the location-based entertainment industry grind to a halt, however now it seems there may be light at the end of the tunnel for at least one VR arcade startup. HOLOGATE, the Germany-based company creating VR arcade tech, announced it’s betting big this year with the launch of its first large-format facility.
Called Hologate World, the company announced its flagship location is set to open in September 2021 in the newly modernized FLAIR Galerie mall in Fürth, Germany. Since its founding in 2017, Hologate has licensed its turnkey VR tech and proprietary games to other facilities, making Hologate World an expansion towards a larger, more ambitious franchise model.
Taking up a 1,200 m² area, Hologate World is said to include VR games, XR escape rooms, esports arena, and “several proprietary entertainment experiences that will be making their world premieres at the opening.” It will also feature a bar, lounge with food service, and both indoor and outdoor gathering areas.
The company says its flagship location in Fürth, which is close to Nuremberg, is a “blueprint for further 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 their increased hygiene standards will help inspire confidence in patrons, something the company established back in May 2020 in preparation for an eventual reopening of its 400+ licensed venues.
It’s uncertain how well the larger LBE industry will fare this year, but it’s likely to be an uphill battle for many VR arcades, which have typically low throughput and high operation costs due to the need for prominent locations. While Hologate seems to have fared 2020’s stormy weather well enough, many VR arcades haven’t gone unscathed.
One of the most well-funded turnkey operations, Sandbox VR, found difficulties in August 2020 when its US-based subsidiary Glostation USA Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s since reemerged from Chapter 11 after reorganization, and the company hopes to continue operations once things get back to normal.
Another big name in location-based VR, The VOID, has also seen its fair share of troubles after late last year it reportedly defaulted on a loan and had an important IP contract with Disney terminated.