Create the Fun: Game Length

The game's length and how many are played per hour will vary from centre to centre. There is no rule set in stone for what works best; however, directly impacting turnover and profit, the decision requires serious thought.

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Operators love to give their customers what they want, and sometimes this is more game time for a similar price. The thought here is that customers will consider the extra game time better value for money and come back for more. Zone, however, thinks this is a mistake. Let us tell you why.

After ten or so minutes of high-energy excitement and exercise, players need recovery time! If you keep the game going much longer, players will end the game tired and not on their adrenaline spike. Most games will also limit the number of bases that players can destroy per play to prevent them from ending with ridiculous scores; hence, as the game progresses, their amount of interaction with the arena devices also decreases.

But, more critically, it hits you in the wallet. Doubling game time without doubling the price means you reduce the number of games you can run per hour, reducing your revenue per hour.


So what are your options:

  • One - Two Games per hour: As we said, we don't recommend this; it both lowers the experience and reduces profitability.
  • Three to Four Games: This is the most common game length across our stores, and if your new to the industry, three games is a great place to start. Increase it as you and your staff become used to managing the changeovers between rounds.
  • Five Games: This is a fantastic point to get to, multiple 10min games spread across the hour. You will need fast changeovers between groups and well-trained staff. Ideally, design your building with quick-change kit-up/briefing rooms and utilize equipment with dual kit-up capabilities.
  • Six games: You would think that customers would complain about a match lasting less than ten minutes. However, from our experience, it can work if done well and with a pricing model that packages multiple games together, encouraging guests to purchase many games at once. To pull off six games an hour, good entry/exit design and intelligent software are a must.
  • Varying games: With the length of your games changing based on the day of the week or time of the day, this can be a great option. When it's less busy during the week, run 3-4 games per hour at a more extended playtime. Then at the weekend, when it's more active, jump up to 5-6 rounds an hour.

Adjusting your games to suit the situation can be a great way to run your centre. Good software will allow you to adjust game time with ease so you can tailor the experience for your customers. Zone software even enables you to change the game length in real-time! Increase or decrease the time of the game in play to meet your site's needs at the time.)