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I first met the team at Hero Zone in the summer of 2019. It was a small team that developed a 4-player, free-roam, compact sci-fi shooter set to ‘80s themed music. It was cool, different, and fun. But it was just a game. They brought it to IAAPA Europe in Paris later that year in a compact, 4-player package. It was well received, but the pandemic was close behind, stealing any momentum they might have generated.
They continued the development of more games, and a launcher and backend system. In a smart pivot, they licensed their software to indie VR arcade operators. Their licensing model was appealing and low risk. Operators could pay for unlimited use month-to-month with no commitment, or even on a per-play basis with no minimums. Over a couple of years, they found themselves in close to 100 locations.
VR arcade owners like do-it-yourself solutions. They’re comfortable building their own PCs and VR rigs. They often construct their own play spaces. And they’re passionate about the promotion of virtual reality.
But the VR arcade business is challenging for game developers. They compete for both space and time within the limited capacity of a VR arcade. Free-roam takes up space, and many arcades only offer it on a limited basis for groups and parties. If the owner/operator doesn’t actively promote it, the developer makes no money.
But Hero Zone continued to support this market and learned a lot along the way. They first offered their software on the Oculus Quest 2, which appealed to the cash-strapped indie arcade market. But the Quest wasn’t enterprise-grade and didn’t fit the market requirements of the mainstream amusement market.
But when the HTC VIVE Focus 3 hit the market, they saw an opportunity to move into the bigger, potentially more lucrative FEC market. At IAAPA Europe in London this year I got to check out their new Hero Zone arena. It was a great addition to the emerging compact free-roam VR segment that’s rapidly developing.
Built on the VIVE Focus 3, Hero Zone’s turnkey arena offers up to 6 players to compete across five titles. The original Cyber Shock game joins four other games. They offer both PvP and co-op games. Their zombie shooter has a hilarious cartoon art style and a great selection of weapons including melee options like a chainsaw and axe.
Hero Zone is a great option for operators interested in free-roam but not ready for a 6-figure commitment into something like Zero Latency. These compact free-roam systems built with Focus 3 offer operators the protection of easily switching to other content providers, as the tech at this point doesn’t seem able to be locked down to one software system. It should help remove the paralysis of analysis that
can occur when looking at all the different systems. If after digesting this guide, you still need help deciding what to buy, just book in for a free consultation with Bob.