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Starting a LAN café. Lots of questions.

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by fudge, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. fudge

    fudge Newbie

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    First of all I'd like to say, I have no clue if this topic belongs in this forum, or if this topic has no place at all at blackhatworld

    Allright guys (and maybe girls?), I've had the idea of starting up a LAN café for gaming. I think it's an idea that actually could work out pretty well, but as I wrote in the title, I've got some questions.

    Do you guys think it could be profitable? There's no LAN café within 50 kilometres(as far as I know), and I'm pretty sure there's more gamers around where I live than I know of (and I know quite alot).

    I'm pretty unsure about people being willing to pay the estimate I got in mind.

    to list some pros and cons about having a LAN café in my city.


    Pros:

    People being able to play on LAN. (d'uh)
    You can chill with your mates and finding servers for *insert-random-online-game* will be no problem.
    Voice communication will be no problem either. (I know from experience it can be a pain in the ass, but I expect to have a VT/TS server for the café).
    Being able to buy candy, popcorn and soft drinks. (If I keep it open at friday and saturday all through the night, I'm positive I can generate some money, by people just craving something for their sweet tooth).

    Neutral:

    I'm new to the whole starting-your-own-business kind of thing, but my dad, mom and my mom's boyfriend, have been, and are very successful entrepeneurs, so there's alot of advice to get from them.

    Cons:

    I'm really really unsure if people want to pay the price, as I think LAN café prices in general, are a bit steep.
    I'm unsure about the size. I want the space I use, to be big enough to hold a gathering of... Approx. 35-50 people(for tournemants and what not), but I'm unsure if I could get enough customers during "regular" days.


    I wrote this post in a bit of a hurry, so I might be missing (alot) of details that are important. Probably some typos in here as well.

    Hope you'll be able to give me some insight.
     
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  2. alexandraM

    alexandraM Junior Member

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    Do alot of research about your area..have any other lan gaming places existed before there?

    plenty have come and gone around here..i know one computer place that is trying to push the lan gaming and they have a great xbox setup with many screens...but for whatever reason it's been a struggle to get people in there for the gaming.
     
  3. extremephp

    extremephp BANNED BANNED

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    Tournament is not what You Should Start Of!! Like, You have an investment of Minimum 1 - 10 Lakh For All the gadgets for Tournament gamers! And Do it, Only once your Gaming centre gets it name!

    Start with 2 Player games!! Buy 10 PC, Split it into 5 Pairs, And place it One Behind the other Turned, So Gamers can have a Look on the other ones Face!

    So, Start with 5 pairs, Get some Cool Games, Like, Most Wanted, Football, And Shooting, Action!

    Once you Make atleast half of the investment, Go For Tournaments! And Do you think, the tournament hall would be filled always? I guess No!

    And Yeah, not to mention, You should have a wide arena to setup tournament options! Split it into 2.. Arrange seating, have a Wide Plasma Screen for watchers.. so and so man! Not good for a starter!

    ~ExP~
     
  4. mani911

    mani911 Junior Member

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    Make sure " the people you know " who are gamers and live next door " they tend to be good friends . They sit around smoke etc eat drink . Maybe sometimes they just play over hours without paying. " thats loss " but then you just cant ask them to pay or eventually end up in a fight. Or even loosing a customer.


    i have seen hundreds of businesses of this type fail. especially the gaming zone ones.
     
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  5. e-hustler

    e-hustler Registered Member

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    I have a pdf with about 10+ pages of online research I did about two years ago. I think it will really help you out. Pm me your email if you would like it.
     
  6. Ardit

    Ardit Junior Member

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    Almost everyone has Internet connection today, why spend money in Internet Caffe's
     
  7. e-hustler

    e-hustler Registered Member

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    Crappy home connection speed
    crappy hardware
    can't afford the game but can manage to come up with a few dollars here and there to spend an hour or so at the lan center
    to meet up with other nerds and compete (really the most fun)

    If you get a location near a college, schools, apartments you will do ok :)
     
  8. anti_dote

    anti_dote Power Member

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    First of all that's a nice idea to be very honest coz i remember when i was 15 i was a CounterStrike Addict and use to spend all my day in those Games Cafe(LAN Games) and i always dreamt of having my own games cafe but i was too young for it.

    First of all you need to do is Market Research Remember without proper market research you are risking your business.

    How you can research ?
    Well i think you should setup a small LAN setup in your basement and throw a LAN Game Party invite all the gamers in your town friends everywhere this may give you some indication about the popularity among those people.

    well as all business do have pro's and con's so what you need to do is just go small start up a small setup and see how things turn out to be in the initial phase.

    Main Point to focus on.

    Remember the main thing i belive is the location of your games cafe make sure you get some centre point of your town where young boys love to hangout if the location is not right things might not work the way you want them to.

    Anyways good luck with your idea do keep us updated how it went and if we could come there and play some Counter Strike lol :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  9. fudge

    fudge Newbie

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    I would really like that pdf, but I can't send you a PM since I need 15 posts so...

    I know my area quite well, and there's been no such thing as a LAN café in my city, and the nearest is approx. 25 kilometres away, so I'm pretty sure I won't have to worry too much about competition.


    Business and personal life I will keep COMPLETELY seperated. I don't think I'll have problems with that at all. Can't imagine it happening anyways:borladuck

    Keep the tips coming! They're really appreciated!

    EDIT: It's basically RIGHT in the center if the city, and I got a pizza place 25m away from there, and the high school(it's not "really a high school, it's a "gymnasie", a danish thing) I'm going to at the moment, has held LAN parties the last couple of years.
    There's a new one coming up this month, and last year, there was a minimum of 30 people, and that's JUST from my school.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  10. extremephp

    extremephp BANNED BANNED

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    I Hope you are reading and Not Avoiding them!

    ~ExP~
     
  11. IcedCube

    IcedCube Junior Member

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    I can give you quite a few ideas (also as far as pricing/location is concerned), but I am really at a lack of time to do so now. If you want to have an open conversation and share ideas just let me know and I'll PM you my AIM. :)

    Also, to everyone who DID share all this information here, my thanks to all of you. Sharing is always appreciated.

    EDIT: Small tip: for game licenses, check https://cafe.steampowered.com/features.php; they offer 100s of games (~255, IIRC)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
  12. fudge

    fudge Newbie

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    This limit is killing me. Can't post any proper replies without getting some sort of warning... Yes, I'd like your a.i.m. to have a conversation :)

    Thanks for the link btw!
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  13. portalweb

    portalweb Supreme Member Premium Member

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    Add the self-service payment device attached to these PCs? (pay for it via cash or credit card)
     
  14. WhoYoDaddy

    WhoYoDaddy Registered Member

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    Follow the advice mentioned before and throw a few LAN parties at your house to network with other gamers in your town (how big is it?) and assess what games people play, how many people you can get into a tournament, etc.

    It all depends on the market in Denmark for real estate. If you can get a huge place for cheap and want to use it as a tournament space you should consider the fact that you will also get people coming in who will only watch and not play. You should setup your space with area where actual computers will be (35-50 computers would have to be a huge place) and an area for people to stand and if you can put up some arcades. While people are not playing on your computers they can play at arcades. Fighting game like Street Fighter and some shooter will get coins rolling in for you.

    I think its 2 things running a regular Internet cafe vs running a more tournament oriented venue. TOV you can get sponsors for tournaments, charge people to play in a tournament, maybe charge admission for people who want to watch. On your off days you can host classes for newbs wanting to learn about popular games (outsource to people you meet at your initial LAN parties). You can have classes for different game M-F and tournaments, special events on the weekends.

    You can advertise booking birthday LAN parties for kids in your area. Imagine 20 kids coming in to play for 3 hours with parents and they will be buying food & refreshments. A few parties a month will get you going. Offer parents cheaper rates on weekdays to use up time when your space will not have a lot of regular customers.

    If you can sell food, not just sodas & snacks, than you can earn a lot more, there is a huge markup on food.
     
  15. Kakashi3005

    Kakashi3005 Newbie

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    I think it depends alot in which country you open it. In poorer countrys where families dont have a pc for every familie member this might work.

    In Germany for example we have a few of such cafés but they are old. Mostly from the time where you had to pay alot for a computer und they have kept their costumers. And people dont really go there for playing the games, they go there for meeting friends and playing with them.

    On the other Hand when I was in thailand i saw alot of this cafés .
     
  16. kirkonpolttaja

    kirkonpolttaja Senior Member

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    You could always start LAN cafe which does not supply computers. (makes things MUCH cheaper)

    BUT, you could use "rent-a-table" technique, 20€/25$/15£ for weekend for single PC (bulk table order discounts?)
    You would not loose money because everyone would bring their own PC's, no dumbass kids playing overtime.
    Your just sellign them electricity for high price lol, only efford is to get good gaming atmosphere in the room, comfy gaming chairs etc and if you want to invest on your business and make electricity efficiency better, purchase nice LED screens when income has incriesed nicely.

    So your single customer would consume about 3€ worth of electricity and you get 17€ profit for weekend for single table + all the coffee those gamers drank and snack they consumed.... I'm getting good vibes on this, maybe i should try this out in the future when i'm going business.

    Weekend profit estimate for only tables about 20 gamers (20&#8364; x 20 = 400&#8364; - (<60&#8364; electricity) = 340&#8364; + coffee snacks.

    Cost could be bigger and the rent time could be shorter, one table can be rented twice a weekend? 20&#8364;/36h (1½ day)

    So weekend table profit goes around 700&#8364;.


    Income does not sound high but it is high enough i think as you have to compare to normal cafe, with lan cafe you would have constant customers, they are basicly living there haha.

    Sorry for typos if occure.
     
  17. eBayMafia

    eBayMafia BANNED BANNED

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    I've owned an operated LAN Centers for 3 years, which is like 20 years in the "LAN gaming" industry. I've been writing an eBook on it for the past year. I started mine when I needed a lot of computers to run a WoW Gold Farming and Powerleveling business.

    LAN Gaming Centers picked up pretty much where Arcades left off. If I could offer any sort of advice.. get the capital to operate more than 100 machines.

    Most people start this business because they enjoy gaming. Enjoying gaming pretty much has nothing to do with a LAN Center. LAN's work really well in smaller communities, ones in bigger cities generally struggle due to high overhead costs. I have one that operates in a town of 40k in Iowa (Farming community) that does better financially than the one I own in 380k populated area about 40 minutes away. I have another center that does well within the largely populated area because it's in a mall. I pay a $2000/mo lease, which is actually discounted, but is well worth it due to the foot traffic. I'm setting another up in another mall about an hour away in 6 months. If you haven't noticed, I have a network of gamers, and I work hard on pulling customers from my mall store to my other two stores because I can't operate my store after 9 which isn't good, as I get a lot of business from 8 pm - 2 am. Offer discounted rates to professionals that use the computers for work. Ask them not to tell.

    First and foremost, your best income will come from food and beverage - not your machines. Anybody who does not agree is stupid. You'll notice pretty quickly that you are going to be making a good profit from fountain drinks. Most other food concessions can be ran through vending machines, but I strongly recommend serving Pizza. At least in the U.S. Substitute pizza with another cheap food that is loved by most people and has an appetizing aroma.

    I do parties, but they generally suck. Don't do parties on weekends unless in the afternoon.

    Your internet connection doesn't have to be amazing, mine isn't. It's mostly LAN based. A group of people will QUICKLY invite someone else playing online into their LAN, freeing up your connection. I don't allow access to things like facebook.

    LAN Centers are very very social, but you can Not allow it to become a lounge or become cliquey. Cliquey lan centers make almost no money. A big amount of your best customers will be children.

    You don't have to buy the best computers. All of mine cost me less than $500 each, and I got many items for free from companies wanting to promote their brands such as AMD. I often have tournaments giving away free keyboards and headphones, I used to do tournaments for cash until I was fined for it. Cash for gaming brings out the WORST in people. I've seen people fist fight for a $200 prize over a Dota tournament. Choose cool looking keyboards, mice, cases, and your LCD must be bigger than the average users home computer. 19" Wide used to be great. I sold them all off, and with an additional $2800 I had nicely refurbished 24" widescreens for 50 computers. Your desks need to look pretty cool, not like sectionals in an office and not like folding tables. Your chairs Must be very comfortable. With buying such a large quantity, local office supply companies will give you a discounted rate. I got both of these things for free.

    Accept old video games (PS3, xBox 360) for game time. At my mall location, Gamestop literally sends me a lot of their customers that don't want to just sell their games for such small amounts. You give someone an all day pass ($25 USD) for a game worth $25 at eBay's price, and you will sustain your business. A lot of gamers are strapped for cash but have a ton of old games and will want to sit down and pwn their friends in CoD.

    I use SmartLaunch. Can be downloaded for free. I recommend it.

    Purchase your CDKeys from eBay, I always wait a month to put a game on, because by then I can get the CDKeys for about half of the original retail cost and I don't really lose any business or money this way.