- “The easiest way to experience VR is to go to arcades”
- “We are uncompromising on our goal: to ensure that our customers leave with a real love of VR…”
“The easiest way to experience VR is to go to arcades”
Hello Mr. Bruski. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What were you doing before and how did you end up in the virtual reality market?
Before working on Ctrl V, I was involved in a wide variety of other startups with different activities. Before my start-up years, I took on very different roles in the Canadian financial investment industry. My partner, and long-time friend, who is very knowledgeable about new technologies, had the idea of getting into virtual reality and contacted me to manage the business side of his initiative.
Arcades were really popular, but they declined with the advent of home consoles. Why did you make this risky choice?
It wasn't really a risky choice. Arcade machines have disappeared because video games have entered the domestic sphere. VR is still difficult to own at home. Equipment prices are high, the hardware required is powerful, and the space required is prohibitive. The easiest way to experience VR (especially if they've never tried it before) is to turn to arcades.
Could you tell us about your business? How many years did it take you to build your project? What difficulties have you encountered? Did you easily find the funding? Do you have a partnership with your equipment suppliers?
The business is incredibly new. The idea was conceived in January 2016. This is where we entered our research phase to make sure it was viable. At the end of February the company was created and the real work started in March. In May, we moved into our space and renovated it for launch in June 2016. We didn't encounter many difficulties. The virtual reality players were very happy to work with us, because they knew that we were paving the way for the development of their own businesses. Funds are always hard to come by, but if you have a great idea and an equally good plan, it gets easier. And yes, we have partnerships with each of our suppliers.
“We are uncompromising on our goal: to ensure that our customers leave with a real love of VR…”
What games do you offer? What equipment do you use? How did you make yourself known to the general public?
All of our games are tested by our teams and other beta testers to make sure they are good enough to be offered. Are they successful enough? Is the replayability sufficient? We refine the choice of our games even before contacting the developers. We work exclusively with the HTC Vive because it currently offers the best and most immersive VR experiences. We are uncompromising on our goal: to make our customers leave with a real love of VR and not another funny activity that they will quickly forget. Our choices, along with the choice not to use the big marketing levers, had the consequence of making CTRL V known by word of mouth, through incredible experiences.
Tell us a bit about your clients (age, gender, etc.). How many are they per day approximately? What games are most popular with them?
Our customers come from all layers and sub-layers of the population. All genders, all ages, gamers and neophytes are represented. Some even come from other countries. In the first month, we counted over 3000 customers. FPS games are the most successful games, along with horror games. But to my surprise, customers also appreciate the simple things like sandbox games or mini-golf courses.
Do you plan to open more arcades?
Yes. We are thinking of opening around fifty other stores.
How do you plan to deal with the arrival of domestic virtual reality?
While home VR may seem like a threat, it isn't and won't have much of an effect on us. People will start playing at home, but they will be in the minority. Plus, with the growing demand for multiplayer games, the only way for groups to play together will be through arcades like ours.
What do you think of the Void, the amusement park dedicated to virtual reality?
The Void is a unique concept and we wish them the best. Despite popular belief, theirs is different from ours, so they are seen more as a complement to our market and to the growth of virtual reality in general.
What do you think of the future of VR?
I believe that in the near future, virtual reality will explode as it will become more accessible, more in demand and more attractive.