Indie sensation Beat Saber is now officially supporting VR arcades with a commercial license. This means VR arcades can officially start carrying the rhythm slicing game through an agreement with its creators.
Distribution platform SpringboardVR is one of the first partners to get official access to Beat Saber for arcades. While the arcade roll-out is much larger than one single distribution partner, SpringboardVR operates at hundreds of locations around the world and co-founder Will Stackable said they “tracked” four million minutes of usage across their network in June. Those are interesting numbers to take note of as one of VR’s most exciting games comes to neighborhood arcade locations around the world.
“I think it has the potential to transform the VR Arcade space,” Stackable wrote. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it jumped to a top 10 slot and accounted for 5-10% of our total minutes the first month, which would be between 200k-400k minutes. (A number that would put it in good company with other top titles).”
Stackable offered up several reasons he’s excited to see what Beat Saber’s release in arcades does to shape the VR industry.
1.) It’s A Fun Game
The VOID draws in people with Star Wars while Dave & Buster’s just launched an alluring Jurassic World VR attraction. For VR arcades, Beat Saber might be just the thing to draw people into repeat visits. If the game turns out to be a compelling enough title to transform the scale of SpringboardVR’s business then it will likely also remake the larger VR arcade industry as well.
“Beat Saber is, put plainly, a truly high quality game,” Stackable wrote. “And just as importantly it’s the first quality game that is specifically made for arcade play. VR Arcades are used to taking consumer games and trying to fit them into an arcade play style. This game changes that.”
2.) Beat Saber Looks Incredible On Camera
Springboard is planning to partner with LIV and Virtual Athletics League to host a VR Arcade Tournament at more than 50 arcades with mixed reality broadcasting to show spectators what the game looks like.
“It’s the first VR game that looks as fun to play as it actually is to put on a headset and play,” Stackable wrote. “Mixed reality videos of Beat Saber are blowing up the internet… and we haven’t really seen that yet in VR. VR Arcades (and VR as a whole) desperately needs that. We need a game that people watch a video of on Facebook and say, ‘I NEED TO PLAY THAT!’ Beat Saber is a marketing teams dream game.”
3.) Per Minute Pricing
According to Stackable, SpringboardVR recommended the team behind Beat Saber price their commercial license around 6 cents per minute — a rate Stackable says is emerging as an industry norm.
“This is based partially on what operators are realizing makes sense for them financially,” Stackable wrote. “With their margins, spending approximately 15% of their revenue on commercial licensing makes sense. Above that and it gets tricky. So at $25 an hour, that comes out to $.06. ($25 * .15 = $3.75 an hour / 60 minutes = $.0625) While we are seeing a trend of operators seeking to license content at closer to that .06 mark, we do have a variety of pricing right now on the developer side. And honestly mostly the pricing has been arbitrary. We’ve got top 20 titles everywhere from $.06 to $.11. Early on we had a number of top 20 titles that were even at $.12… but pretty quickly those dropped off the charts as operators realized they couldn’t make the math work.”
Taken altogether, the pricing, mixed reality broadcasting and quality of the game itself might be enough to transform the landscape for VR arcades. We’ll plan to check back in with SpringboardVR in a month or so to see how things are going.