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  1. #1
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    Anyone here own a gaming center?

    Since this is a bit off topic for hosting related stuff...I figured this would be the best place for it.

    My husband and I own a local gaming center (computer network, PS2, Xbox (live), etc.). I'm currently working on the website for it and was wondering if anyone else had any ideas of what to put on it.

    I would love to trade some tips and advice with others. We've been doing this for about a year or so and we're kinda learning as we go along.

    Also, has anyone else here thought of starting a gaming center? It seems like hosting and a physical location like a gaming center are pretty much in the same ballpark. It was my husbands idea, actually, after we had one too many fights over his gaming addiction...and I happened to say "I wish I had a dollar for every hour you play those stupid games!".


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  2. #2
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    I am not sure if a gaming center would do good where I live. We do not have one around here or even a internet cafe. I am guessing it cost around $200,000.00+ to get a gaming center started up? As well how does your gaming center do on average? I would love to hear more about it if you do not mind .

  3. #3
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    Whoa! No way did it cost that much at all. We put about $10,000 into computers and around $3000 in three 27 inch tvs and 3 Xboxes and 2 PS2s and games and a projector for playing games on the wall...supersized.

    Our rent is only around $400 a month. We make around that much on the weekends alone and we don't advertise at all. Its all just walk in traffic...and once the kids find it, they will come in droves!

    We make quite a bit on selling soda. We get a big ol' case at Sam's Club and double our money by selling @ 50 cents a can.

    --Tina
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  4. #4
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    $13,000.00 wow not to bad! How much you charge to go play games?


    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    Whoa! No way did it cost that much at all. We put about $10,000 into computers and around $3000 in three 27 inch tvs and 3 Xboxes and 2 PS2s and games and a projector for playing games on the wall...supersized.

    Our rent is only around $400 a month. We make around that much on the weekends alone and we don't advertise at all. Its all just walk in traffic...and once the kids find it, they will come in droves!

    We make quite a bit on selling soda. We get a big ol' case at Sam's Club and double our money by selling @ 50 cents a can.

    --Tina

  5. #5
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    Wow ... $400 a month for rent is peanuts. What size space do you have?

    A local person I know here literally lost her shirt trying to start a cybercafe in the local mall. The rent was like $5K/mo, though, and she wasn't properly capitalized.
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  6. #6
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    We charge $2 an hour for games. We also do computer and game console repair, hold tournaments, do consignments, etc.

    --Tina
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  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Jay Suds
    Wow ... $400 a month for rent is peanuts. What size space do you have?

    A local person I know here literally lost her shirt trying to start a cybercafe in the local mall. The rent was like $5K/mo, though, and she wasn't properly capitalized.

    The mall here charges that much as well. Really it is better to get a place far away from the mall. I have seen businesses come and go in the mall for the same reason that you stated.


    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We charge $2 an hour for games. We also do computer and game console repair, hold tournaments, do consignments, etc.

    --Tina
    How big of a space do you have? As well sounds like you have a solid business!

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Jay Suds
    Wow ... $400 a month for rent is peanuts. What size space do you have?

    A local person I know here literally lost her shirt trying to start a cybercafe in the local mall. The rent was like $5K/mo, though, and she wasn't properly capitalized.

    Yeah, we live in a small tourist town - we have a small shop right on the main street, so the traffic is amazing. We're lucky.

    Our place isn't very big and we've definitely outgrown it. We could double our space and do better...but its kind of a toss up because then our rent would be higher. Its like, how big do we *really* want to be?

    --Tina
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  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Torith
    How big of a space do you have? As well sounds like you have a solid business!
    We have 15 workstations (computers) lined up, 3 TVs, a bistro table and 4 chairs (for WIFI customers) and a futon for lounging/playing on the TVs....and our counter/cash register area. We also have a work area in the back that is pretty crammed full of stuff.

    --Tina
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We have 15 workstations (computers) lined up, 3 TVs, a bistro table and 4 chairs (for WIFI customers) and a futon for lounging/playing on the TVs....and our counter/cash register area. We also have a work area in the back that is pretty crammed full of stuff.

    --Tina
    Sounds very nice Tina. How long have you been doing it for? As well do you charge your husband for playing games?

  11. #11
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    We've been working on it for about a year and a half...been opened for about a year.

    He plays for free because its now considered "research".

    --Tina
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  12. #12
    Hi Tina, I used to own a gaming centre in the UK - we used to use a computer controller called smartlaunch which made it possible to show people on our website which pcs where in use, by who, and also which game they where playing - we where actually working on a way where people could credit their 'accounts' online via credit card .

    Its a great industry but not the most profitable unfortunately.

  13. #13
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    No, its not get rich kinda money - but it is better than working a 9 - 5 job and is much more fun. It also gives us a little extra money each month to play around with...so I think its worth it.

    I was actually just researching smartlaunch. We use Internet Caffe Pro and its really starting to annoy me. Any downside to using smartlaunch?

    --Tina
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  14. #14
    Smartlaunch is mazing - i highly suggest you ask them for a free trial of the software - i PROMISE you will not be dissapointed - the cdkey management alone is worth the cost of the program - it has countless features and is by far the best out there! - i used to use cafesuite before it and nothing comes near to smartlaunch its truely amazing lol - and no i don't work for them

  15. #15
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    Wow, $2/hour is cheap. The local gaming cafe by me is $5.50/hour.

  16. #16
    we used to charge around 5 dollars an hour, made around 5-6k a month,wasnt enough though

  17. #17
    i also suggest you join the igames leagues for your tournaments etc, the company was setup just for gaming centres and is sponsored by all the big companys, Microsoft, Blizzard etc, we got our xboxes and games free off microsoft, Plus games monthly of many of the other software companys

  18. #18
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    I've been there... very fun... though I can't play FPS any more... makes my head dizzy.
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  19. #19
    That awsome AH-Tina.
    Two guys rented out an old space in town and made one with about 16 computers, their space, sodas candy etc. They charge 20 bucks for all day, or 5 bucks an hour i believe. The owners switch off, and they play WoW

    Do you guys have internet for the computers to play online?

  20. #20
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    That sounds pretty good what you've got going their AH-Tina.

    Any photos we can see?

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by ScionStatic(Stevo)
    That awsome AH-Tina.
    Two guys rented out an old space in town and made one with about 16 computers, their space, sodas candy etc. They charge 20 bucks for all day, or 5 bucks an hour i believe. The owners switch off, and they play WoW

    Do you guys have internet for the computers to play online?
    Yes, they do. It's quite fun... until the afore mentioned effect
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  22. #22
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    hmm, the closest net cafe to me would be about an hour drive.

    i never knew they existed in the unitd states, or atleast not successfully :p

    i guess thats just my uhm.... "shadowed" reality
    All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

  23. #23
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    I own a local gaming center. I haven't gotten around to making a website for it, we used to have one, but it got to the point where the only people viewing it were people inside my center because i had it set as the homepage on all of the computers. If your area uses the web a lot and you think it would be beneficial i'd suggest listing all your merchandise as well as prices for hours of use and tournaments and you business hours.
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  24. #24
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    Tina, I wish I was you right now haha.

  25. #25
    Wow, $2.00 an hour and you're able to recoup all the costs? You must have a lot of customers. That's the cheapest rate I've ever seen for gaming cafes. All the ones in my area are at least $8.00 without membership. Membership is usually $20.00 a year and discounts the hourly fee to $6.00. One great business you have running there

    Congrats

  26. #26
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    We charge $5.50/hour for non-members, members pay $25 a month to get unlimited access. Our LAN parties and such charge diffrent things of course, but we've stayed afoloat for 3 1/2 years now.
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  27. #27
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    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We have 15 workstations (computers) lined up, 3 TVs, a bistro table and 4 chairs (for WIFI customers) and a futon for lounging/playing on the TVs....and our counter/cash register area. We also have a work area in the back that is pretty crammed full of stuff.
    Sounds great!

    I nearly went down this path, when I was building httpme. I was going to setup a gaming center and run httpme from there too. Can't remember exactly why I decided against it. I think I needed to focus purely on httpme, but I'd love to set a game center up in the future.
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  28. #28
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    Give me a call when your thinking about doing it Aussie

    I was thinking about opening one eventually aswell,probably in Melbourne.
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  29. #29
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    Wow Smartlaunch looks alot better than Internet Cafe Pro 9... I would switch .
    Thats excellent that your running one and doing well... hope buisness keeps up!

  30. #30
    Originally posted by AH-Tina
    We charge $2 an hour for games. We also do computer and game console repair, hold tournaments, do consignments, etc.

    --Tina
    There was a place around columbus called lanlords, they started with $40k startup. It broke even for about 8 months (gained money, reinvested), but eventually shut down after 13 months. Their biggest money maker was DDR (2 cobalt flux's, one old computer running stepmania). I had a habit of winning the counter-strike,day of defeat, bf1942, and MOHAA tourney's, but I quit playing. They sold pops for $0.50, burritos for $1, lean pockets for $2, bawls & red bull for $2, and gatorades for $1.50.

    I don't remembermuch else.

  31. #31
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    Why did they close down? Just not busy enough or what?

    Originally posted by Cserver
    There was a place around columbus called lanlords, they started with $40k startup. It broke even for about 8 months (gained money, reinvested), but eventually shut down after 13 months. Their biggest money maker was DDR (2 cobalt flux's, one old computer running stepmania). I had a habit of winning the counter-strike,day of defeat, bf1942, and MOHAA tourney's, but I quit playing. They sold pops for $0.50, burritos for $1, lean pockets for $2, bawls & red bull for $2, and gatorades for $1.50.

    I don't remembermuch else.

  32. #32
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    I used to frequent Internet cafe's regularly and one in particular - it was $3/hr in New Zealand (equivilent to about US$2) ... and it had pretty good machines etc. The thing that stopped me going was that they didn't patch their games to the new releases quick enough.

  33. #33
    Tina, what town are you in? I know there are three in the Grand Rapids area, and I can't imagine that the one nearest to me is doing all that well.... I don't think I've heard of yours yet, all the ones I know charge between $4-$5 dollars an hour.

    I figured out the most they could make a year was $125,000 split between the four owners. That was with full price gaming at 100% capacity every hour they were open. That's without rent and any other expense.

    The one in East Lansing, where I'll be this fall, I know makes a considerable amount of money compared to the one nearest me right now... they suck all the MSU college students who don't have good enough computers to come in and play.

  34. #34
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    We're in Whitehall - its about 45 mins north of Grand Rapids. I think we do pretty good because there really isn't anything for kids/young adults to do up here. We pretty much have the market cornered for entertainment here...except the theater here, which is gonna cost a kid $10 for an hour and a half long movie. Our only real expenses are rent, cable and licenses. We broke even on our start up a few months back.

    Like I said, this probably isn't something that we're ever going to be able to retire on...but its a pretty cool distraction in the meantime.

    --Tina
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  35. #35
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    congrats tina.

    however i have to say, $2/ hour is nothing. If you have the market to yoursleves, then i am sure you can bring it up to a $4/h or $3/h with membership ($10 a month).


    Anyway, good luck with it

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  36. #36
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    May I suggest providing a healthier alternative to sugary drinks as well...?
    Last edited by -T{H}R-; 08-02-2005 at 11:58 PM.

  37. #37
    Tina, that's a cool deal. Glad it's working out for you so far. I'm trying to research on this industry some myself. $2.00/hr does seem pretty cut rate, so it seems you've got enough of a customer base. Would you mind sharing either how many daily customers you get or how much monthly revenue is? Thanks!

  38. #38
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    Originally posted by Bazza The Greek
    congrats tina.

    however i have to say, $2/ hour is nothing. If you have the market to yoursleves, then i am sure you can bring it up to a $4/h or $3/h with membership ($10 a month).


    Anyway, good luck with it
    Yeah, we actually were charging $4 an hour when we first opened up...but we'd have some kids come in and look around and not be able to play very much if at all. The price we charge is affordable by just about everyone and it keeps the machines busy at the perfect pace.

    Holy cow we sell alot of soda though!

    --Tina
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  39. #39
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    Originally posted by -T{H}R-
    May I guess providing a healthier alternative to sugary drinks as well...?

    Heck no...what fun would that be???

    --Tina
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  40. #40
    Whitehall... not far from me, but a little too far to drive to. I've only gone to a gaming center once... If and when I play games, I play them in the comfort of my own home.

    www.edengaming.com is the one nearest me... a forum might be nice for the regulars.

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