A REBRANDING STORY
I am extremely proud and excited to announce that our flagship product, VR Quest Arena, has gone through a major rebranding process and it’s now called Arkadia VR Arena. This is much more than a name change for us, it’s a significant step, a choice based on our progress as a company that values how our audience has grown and matured.
Reasons behind rebranding
This transformation was necessary because we have grown, our product has grown beyond its initial design, we have grown as a company and as a team, our audience has grown and matured. Also, our core values have changed, they are more clear and more concise, they have developed stronger and wider roots in the attractions community and industry.
I know, these reasons may seem a bit broad and self-serving, but I promise you, this is not the case. To prove it, I would like to tell you a bit about our company, how we got started in the amusement industry, about the road that led us from VR Quest Arena to Arkadia.
We founded our company 12 years ago. At first, we developed interactive solutions for corporations and marketing activations. After a couple of years, we started designing custom products and content for museums, zoos, and visitor centers. During this time, we worked with many technologies, Virtual Reality included. Actually, we had been developing VR projects long before location-based VR was introduced in entertainment centers.
When we first thought about it, the transition from museums to family entertainment centers seemed logical and even natural for us. Looking back, we were a bit wrong. At that time, we had almost no insight or experience working in the amusement industry. We were just excited to implement Virtual Reality technology in this field and to create remarkable VR experiences.
1. VR QUEST ARENA
We chose the name VR Quest Arena for our product because we wanted to develop incredible adventures, to create immersive worlds and fascinating journeys, to thrill and astound our audience!
Excited about this new project, we produced our first VR experience, Griffin Tale. It was a single-player, free-roam VR game, mapped on a physical maze. Although we received a lot of positive feedback, we realized that the maze structure made it hard to develop new content, and it also posed a few challenges for the operators.
2. FREE ROAM ADVENTURES
Immediately after Griffin Tale, we got rid of the physical maze and started working on a new VR title. We wanted to create a truly immersive experience, one with a real sense of adventure and discovery, focused on the user and its emotions. I’m proud to say that we achieved all our goals and even surpassed them. Grim Helm was a single-player, free roam adventure, and it was amazing. To this day, I am still proud of that game.
As soon as we finished developing Grim Helm, we attended an industry trade-show in Las Vegas and we did a private showcasing in LA.
3. THE STRUGGLES
During these events, a lot of people tested our game: FEC owners, amusement industry professionals, producers from three major movie studios. Everyone was amazed by the graphics, gameplay, and overall feel. Now here comes the frustrating and disappointing part: everybody loved our game, but no one wanted to buy our product. Why? Because it was a single-player, it wasn’t a profitable investment for them. We understood that and started working on changes.
That was one of the hardest moments for us, we had a great VR experience that everyone praised, but nobody wanted. It was clear that we needed to get out of our heads, to start paying attention to the industry. Up to that point, we had focused on the content without creating a strong product, and without minding the market’s needs. We had been incredibly self-centered.
This was the turning point for us. We started talking to FEC owners, managers, and industry professionals. We listened to what they had to say, to their ideas, to their requirements. I know it sounds silly, but it was a revelation for us.
4. THE SOLUTION
Subsequently, we redesigned our entire product, we turned our single-player arena into a 4-player attraction, and we started developing content for it. This time, we didn’t just focus on the games, on designing a viable and appealing attraction. Finally, after a crazy journey, we had succeeded in developing a strong product, one that was well received by the attractions industry.
We didn’t stop there, we took it one step further and we developed a new version of our product, the 6-Player Arena. This way, depending on their space allowance and budget, owners could choose either a 4-Player or 6-Player system. Additionally, we created a tournament platform and added a lot of other features to our system, most of them inspired by the feedback we got from our clients and stakeholders.
5. PARTNERSHIP WITH AMUSEMENT PRODUCTS
The next important and defining episode for us was joining forces with Amusement Products, one of the biggest and most reliable attraction manufacturers in the US. They became our partners in North America, in charge of sales, installations, and on-site tech support.
6. FUTURE PROSPECTS
During our journey, we have noticed that the industry, our clients, our prospects and our audience have matured. Virtual Reality is no longer a new attraction, it has a proven track record and it’s here to stay. This means that expectations will grow, needs will be more specific, and the VR niche will become more sophisticated.
Well, these are the main events that have defined our road so far. However, there is one more important part that I need to write about, the end-users, our client’s customers, because without them there would be no amusement industry. To do that, I have to focus on our games and our content strategy.
OUR VR EXPERIENCES
We love developing VR experiences, it’s the main reason we got involved in this industry. All the games we produce have well-defined characteristics: high-quality graphics, engaging and dynamic gameplay, high replay value, easy to understand mechanics, they are both family-friendly and appealing to a wide audience. Add to that mix a few business-orientated traits and everything sounds amazing, but these are all features. What makes our games stand out? Why do people like our games and come back for more?
What makes our games stand out?
Besides all the traits stated above, we also focused on creating and inducing a certain feeling, that “good honest fun” vibe. Remember that? It’s the feeling you had playing catch with your family, racing your bike down the street, playing dungeons and dragons, bowling with your gang. That’s what we strive to bring back.
Following this concept, most of our games are competitive player vs player experiences. Let’s face it, in an entertainment center, it’s much more fun playing against your buddies, family, coworkers (bosses included), than shooting some random computer-generated enemies. Although we promote the competitive side, our games manage to retain that fun feeling, they don’t turn into mean-spirited matches. Yes, we have tournament options available, and we encourage e-sports competitions, but we want to make them fun as well.
Last but not least, let’s talk about values. Where do we fit in this industry? Well, this was a road of self-discovery and growth. Loosely speaking, we went from “amazing VR experiences”, to “a great product with a lot of cool features”, to “it will really benefit your business”, until we arrived at “good honest fun”. Yes, I believe this is our core value. As I said before, we want people to have fun and we want to bring back that “good honest fun” vibe.
Let’s face it, the amusement industry is dedicated to creating fun and memorable moments. If people have fun, they will come back for more, they will tell their friends about it, and they will share that joy.
Having a good product matters, having great content for your attraction matters, having business-orientated features matters, getting quality support for your product matters, but people and the memories they create matter most.
ARKADIA IS OUR HOME NOW!
Finally, let’s wrap everything up. VR Quest Arena becomes Arkadia because it’s no longer a solitary experience, it’s a world of adventures that you can share with your friends and family
The change was necessary because we have grown, we’re not on a quest anymore, we’re here to build something meaningful and enduring. Because we got to explore and understand a new industry, to make friends, and we found our place here.
Because we believe that people should have fun, and should create amazing memories. VR Quest Arena was a great journey, but Arkadia is our home now, and you’re welcome to visit us.