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Dave & Buster’s CEO: ‘Jurassic World’ VR Biggest Game Launch in Company’s History

Betting on virtual reality (VR) seems to be working out for Dave & Buster’s: The company’s new “Jurassic World VR Expedition” ride has turned into the biggest game launch in the company’s history, CEO Brian Jenkins revealed during Dave & Buster’s Q2 2018 earnings call Friday.

“Guest response has been strong and bodes well for future game releases on this platform,” Jenkins said, adding that the company planned to launch a second VR title towards the end of the year. “The plan is to build a library of VR content that allow us to capitalize on this opportunity for years to come,” he said.

Dave & Buster’s launched “Jurassic World VR Expedition” in over 100 locations across the U.S. and Canada in June. The ride combines motion chairs with HTC Vive VR headsets, allowing up to four players at a time to enter the world of the movie franchise together.

Despite the fact that it launched towards the end of the second quarter, “Jurassic World VR Expedition” already was “meaningfully incremental” to Dave & Buster’s Q2 2018 revenue, Jenkins said Friday. In fact, the chain has seen so much interest in the attraction that it is now considering to launch a second motion chair platform in additional locations. Currently, Dave & Buster’s operates a single four-seat motion chair platform in most of its locations.

The company reported Friday that it had generated $319.2 million in revenue in Q2, up 13.7% from last year’s Q2 results of $280.8 million. Net income of for the quarter was $33.8 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, up from $30.4 million in Q2 of 2017. Investors responded to this by sending the stock up 7.88% for the day.

Dave & Buster’s is just one of a number of companies looking to cash in on VR in an out-of-home setting. But while many other companies are building out standalone VR centers, Dave & Buster’s is clearly betting on its existing audience, which is also reflected in its pricing: “Jurassic World VR Expedition” costs just $5 per ride, compared to the $20 or more that some other VR center operators charge for their attractions.

“Jurassic World VR Expedition” has been developed by The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) in cooperation with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios, and has been considered one of the most successful commercial VR partnerships for a major motion picture studio to date. “This will be the first time that a studio receives a 7-figure check for VR,” VRC CEO Guy Primus recently told Variety.

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