Now that the soggy autumn season has gripped my part of the State of Florida. This conceptual business model seems quite appetizing for an indoor experience away from local thunder storms.
Allow me to begin that this concept isn't rather new for its been tried before be it here in the States or in Europe. Making it more an afterthought novelty experience then a serious attraction within a movie theater complex. Before I get ahead of myself allow me to explain in basic terms what a "Gaming Theater Arena" is all about. Besides watching the latest movie flick at the cinema a few rows of seating can be converted to gaming hardware seating kiosks.
Take for instance how an airliner passenger seats have those rear head board LCD tv screens in business and first class sections. Besides the classical fold up tray for eating or placing your laptop during a flight. Now borrowing from that example from airlines transfer it over to a Branded Experience. As a gaming arena in a movie theater screen salon that to keep seats filled. This option is picked up for local movie theater operators during those seasonal periods where block buster films are lacking. Let's say the Spring and Fall portions of the year when box office sales are waning. Perhaps taking a page from how IMAX 3D branded experiences are offered in literally across every movie theater operator today across America, Europe, and beyond. This concept can be directed as an augmented business model for movie theaters if not for a stand alone franchise chain of gamer theater arena's. That is after the initial prototype of its first iteration works out the kinks and glitches with the daily operations and technological hurdles.
Now back to the overall presentation picturing (pun intended) the photo above of any standard movie theater screening room salon. Whereby the photo just above this paragraph showcasing these airliner passenger rear top head board LCD monitor screens. Just cut and paste that image to every rear seating row of a movie theater screening room salon. All synced in visual display in whats being presented on the big projector screen itself. These seats have the option to mute the local monitor volume if they so choose. Especially if gamers are wearing a headset microphone accessory. (As a rental or personally brought in to use) Since these games to be played aren't just played locally but On the Cloud.
Present day "Onlive.com" is a similar cloud based gaming platform for PC / Mac / Tablet / Smartphone gamers and their propriety video game console. Account holders with Onlive.com (Link) can unlock particular game titles to play solo or cloud based multiplayer games. Today's movie theaters as a novelty like I stated earlier have Xbox 360 Parties like at this Cineplex Theater Chain (Link) operator offers today. What I'm describing here is far more sophisticated than that which can include the Oculus VR Helm (Link) as a rental accessory for gamers. So instead of playing your cloud based game on yesterdays 2D flat screen. Play it with a 3D virtual reality helmet that hooks up to the under the seat kiosk hardware.
Speaking of the seating itself it'll have a Rumble Pack built into the seat. Like any present day video game console handset controller offers. Maybe if the movie theater chain operator wants all the bells and whistles. They could splurge on a Scent Emitter housed again under the seat itself. Even the recent Xbox One from Microsoft spent over $100 million dollars just to do research and development on the hand controller. Of which they explored having a built-in projector with a olfactory output scent emitter. Polygon.com Xbox One Hand Controller Explored Having A Scent Emitter (Link, Article date Nov. 19th, 2013)
Continuing about hand controllers these gamer arena seating can have one or two configurations of input game controllers. Most common at the end of each armchair will be a one hand controller with recessed buttons and a joystick. Durable for the punishing treatment gamers are known to dish out on arcade kiosks or video game consoles. Or two that aforementioned fold down tray like a airliner passenger rear seating. When folded down showcases a keyboard and a stationary trackball and not a mouse which needs constant movement. I swear personally as an old school MMO (Massively multiplayer online game) and FPS (First person shooter) multiplayer gamer with my Logitech Marble Trackball Mouse. Aiming in a shooter be it PvE (Player versus environment) or PvP (Player versus player) is essential for me with the fine precision of rolling a trackball with one or two fingers. None of that drama with scrolling mice across a mouse pad. Aside from my decade long testimonial of a trackball for gaming purposes.
Business operation wise if theater arena gaming does take off. Much like the movie studios pay for the marketing of movies with national commercial trailers for movie goers. Game publishers can do in kind promoting new games like they usually do but with a focus to be played in such arena theaters for gamers. Gamers attending such a retrofitted movie theater by a local operator can be issued member ID cards. Where game time can be purchased on site or in advance sorta like using time on a desktop computer at an Internet Cafe. Account holders can also have particular games including MMO ones unlocked via the Cloud gaming platform. All offered by the cloud games catalog library of whatever is on sale or fully priced.
To encourage a local community of gamers such a movie theater operator can promote local clans and guilds to organize. Offering tournaments, prize promotions ala contests and sweepstakes (games from their cloud library, cash, accessories for the theater arena, trips to a Comic-Con, etc...), even gamer fund raiser marathons for a local or national charity. Which if the movie theater operator could go as far finding corporate or local small business sponsors for the charity event that cater to such a demographic.
Many of today's multiplex movie theater chains have back-up concession stands that are rarely used. Perhaps if a mega blockbuster movie showing is occurring. Otherwise that space goes unused for months at a time. How about opening up a Gamer Theater Arena gift shop in such a floor space. Catering to servicing the accounts of such a branded experience besides selling merchandising and accessories or rentals (ie Oculus VR helms) to gamers. Which will mean having a sales customer service clerk on site besides at least one technical staffer. To deal with any hiccups of glitching equipment in the screening salons of the arena's.
This is how I envision such a "Gaming Theater Arena" taking shape for a local movie theater operator. Or if indeed a stand alone series of such arena's are created. As IMAX first started in a piece meal fashion taking years before becoming popular. These gamer theater arena's will also Revolutionize the Dead Arcade Industry of the 20th century business model. Where gamers can play solo, local or online multiplayer via the cloud gaming platform, and certainly massively multiplayer online games networked via the Internet. Maybe an exclusive deal can be made with a particular game publisher ala Microsoft, Sony, or Electronic Arts for instance. In helping to defray the marketing costs and playing their games exclusively via the cloud game infrastructure platform.
Here's hoping the future is here now since the technology for this already exists. Just the vision and the cajones to pull it off is lacking. Since companies like "Audience Entertainment" (Link, Techcrunch.com article link of Aug. 21st, 2014) are highlighting a SDK (Studio Development Kit). For movie goers or music concert attendees to be a macro motion sensor input for commercials and basic games with interactive media.