I have been a big time gamers and have also experience of running gaming parlour with friend, later split up my partnership with him as was affecting my studies and I saw very little growth in it as a career.
Here now I am sharing some of my experience which may help others if they want to open a gaming parlour or gaming station in India.
If you are like me or any other gaming enthusiast then I know you must be dying to do something similar but remember its not a very high return business, it also have very steep initial cost. Moreover, there is no way in this world you can satisfy yourself with any kind of setup, you will always crave to do more and invest more.
So, before jumping into it, I suggest you to go to nearby 2-4 such gaming station, befriend with owner and learn if its really a good business. I have seen many such dying and also have seen few earning very handsome too.
Now some GK, you can essentially open these kind of Gaming Parlors:
- Console Gaming Parlour.
- Computer Gaming Parlour .
- Console + Computer Gaming Parlour.
- Gaming Parlour with Food Lounge with any of the above type.
Generally Computer + Console parlour is advised with food lounge. Computer gaming because people loves LAN gaming and can't do effectively at home but generally gaming computers are too costly and have short life-span to ongoing advancement in games and hardware. However, console makes more sense in India as they are still not very common and provides longer life and better experience. Food lounge could be added bonus and is optional.
Now, I will try to make some suggestions :
- Decide your budget, its very important, don't invest too much or simply, do not eat more than what you can chew.
- Decide what kind of gaming parlour you need basis of discussion made earlier.
- Get Entertainment license from local authority to save from troubles later.
- Don't invest too much in furniture, go minimal as people care more about hardware and screen than furniture. Just hang Displays on wall and some wall mount for console or may be wall mulock boxes and use bean bag sofa because sometimes on single console, 4 players are playing and it is very hard to accommodate them with regular furniture. I saw this setup, pretty good and comfortable for long hour players .. (I have seen guys playing from morning to night )
- Starts with some famous title and then build your library from feedback of customers. Don't just buy any game because you like it. Games now a days are too costly.
- Emphasize on LAN gaming, even teach it to those who never experienced it.
- Have some kind of referral system like rewarding free game credits if your customer brings new customer and he plays for atleast 1 hour or so.
- Go for cheap 32" LED or bigger, even cheap LED's have long enough lifespan that you don't have to worry about their durability.
- Controllers / Headphones breaks so often in game parlours that most of the time they eat away all your profits. One solution is to offer personlized controllers to regular visitors with package.. lets say, Xbox 360 controller costs Rs. 2000 , then offer a package of Rs. 2500, with 1500 worth gaming credit and 1000 only for console.. catch is that "console will belong to particular customer and no one else will use it apart of him, however, actual owner will be you and he can't take away from parlour" . Same should be with headset or any thing which gets prone to damages easily.
- Make some kind of arrangement or display NOTICE that kids always come / visit game parlour with consent of parents to save yourself from trouble later from irritated parents.
- Never-ever let kids or anyone play on credit. Its better to loose a customer than loosing a customer with lots of your money.
- Make membership cards and give discount on bulk buying.
- Make sure you have CCTV installed, it really saves lots of trouble in future.
- It takes time to get it established, always open after doing research at local level and customer type.
There could be many more things but I hope this serves good for now. Please feel free to add more suggestions as replies. I will add them in list with credit if they are useful.
Remember,like any other business, this work has its own shortcomings and risk. There is no assurance that it will be profitable or easy to operate. So presence of mind and common sense is required.
Lastly, remember, these are just my views on experience, I don't take any guarantee for their effectiveness and accuracy. Your discretion is required.