Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More New Cyber Cafes

A new cyber cafe venture. These things are popping up all over the place these days, which begs the question, didn't arcades die out a long time ago? Most of the cyber cafes I've been in crashed and burned within 6 months. The reason cyber cafes flourished in the first place was the downward trend in computer prices, which also meant that everyone could go out and buy their own computer, obviating the need to go to a cyber cafe. The only time people physically remove themselves from their home computer to play PC games is for large LAN parties, typically when a tournament is being played for monetary prizes. How, then, is a cyber cafe going to succeed? The reason cyber cafes die out is that they never recover the initial capital investment required to start the business in the first place, let alone earning enough to cover day-to-day operations and actually earning some money. The only way I can see it working is if there is a reason to go instead of just to log onto a computer (and check your email, surf the web, or finish a quest in WoW). That means a reason for other people to go, similar to what you see at a Starbucks, in that people don't just go for the coffee, they go to hang out, to use the WiFi, to surf, to meet friends, etc. Or like a bar, where you can watch the game, grab some food or a beer, pick up members of the opposite sex. Otherwise the whole thing is going to be a big waste of cash.

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