I’m going to assume, as you read this page, that you: a) are considering stepping into the gaming cafe business, and b) that you have darkened the doorstep of at least one establishment that will support gaming. Perhaps you’ve visited several? Reflect back to the very best gaming experience that you had. What things made that occasion so great? Was the sound from the speakers top notch? Why were you so amazed?
Now contrast that with your worst experience in a such a cafe. Same question as above. Did their computers stink? Was there a lot of lag during game play?
Often, new cafe business owners fail to understand the differences between internet and gaming cafes (and they are important!). In a nutshell: the former can operate using the same software and infrastructure that the latter uses, but not vice versa.
An invoicing program, operating systems, a web surfing application, and management software are all that’s required for an internet cafe. Billing software is important, obviously. Show me an internet cafe that doesn’t incorporate billing and I’ll be their best customer:). Internet cafe software (management software) may very well be the most important piece of software in your inventory, though. This is what allows you to bill your customers, as well as monitor their use and lock the station when their time is used up.
Contrast this with gaming cafe software. Games, of course, are also needed!! First-Person Shooters (commonly referred to as FPS) and Real-Time Strategy (also known as RTS) are the most popular genre of gaming cafe software. These types of games tend to make the player think “on their feet” and are highly competitive. And groups of people are exactly what you should want to be catering to.
Successful cafes that allows and offers gaming have a necessity for both excellent gaming equipment, as well as quality cafe software. Low-end hardware won’t affect an internet cafe very much. No necessity for impressive visuals, phenomenal audio or huge storage capacity.
But gaming cafes are a different animal with different needs. Especially with today’s games, more is demanded from computers than ever before. Many modern machines even implement a secondary graphics card, in order to emulate real-world physic behaviors. Great quality audio systems and speakers aren’t nearly as expensive as they used to be. Modern gamers will also expect large, high resolution monitors, optical mice, computers with fast processors, a network with low latency and a fast internet connection.
It goes without saying that you will need clients more than anything mentioned above. You don’t need to spend a small fortune in advertising to get people in your door (or take up treasure hunting as a hobby… it’s harder than it looks… trust me).
One great resource for finding customers is clubs. And by “club”, I don’t mean laser shows, dance tunes or over-populated bars. I’m talking about social groups – tennis, running, hiking, computer-building, chess, etc? and gaming clubs (wink, wink)! These groups are chalk full of people who already share things in common and would probably make great customers! If they try your place and like it, they could even become a word-of-mouth marketing army for you.