The field of augmented reality, or AR for short, has been making significant strides in the gaming community, particularly due to the success of AR games like Pokémon Go. In the arcade industry, these technologies have also been advancing considerably, particularly when it comes to AR, but also mixed reality (MXR), and more recently virtual reality technologies. Today, we’ve come to talk about one of the latest AR endeavors by Sega Amusements and 501 Entertainment: SMARTS Darts!
This product was unveiled in Bowl Expo 2022’s trade show, combining digital projection technologies with the traditional and timeless game of darts, which technically makes this into a mixed reality game. Nevertheless, SMARTS Darts uses digital projection to create a dynamic playing field that can not only alter its appearance, but also respond to the players’ actions, and even display a variety of different elements.
The potential of this platform is practically limitless, though the press releases sheds more light on its applications, as well as the company’s plan for this new tech. They also mention the application of AR for a tech-enhanced miniature golf game, though they didn’t actually reveal it in the trade show:
SOCIAL ENTERTAINMENT LEADER ANNOUNCES U.S. LAUNCH
OF TECH-ENHANCED MINIATURE GOLF AND DARTS
501 Entertainment Will Showcase Technology-Enhanced Updates of
Classic Games at the International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas
Kent, England (June 23, 2022) – 501 Entertainment, a global leader in social entertainment technology, is set to debut a new innovative interactive miniature golf product and launch its ground-breaking SMARTS Augmented Reality and Interactive Darts systems at the upcoming International Bowl Expo (bpaa.com/bowlexpo), the trade show organized by the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA). 501 Entertainment will host interested parties on June 29th and 30th in booth #1236 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
These product launches are part of the UK-based company’s official entry into the U.S. market following an increasing global installation base and partnerships with high-profile venue UK partners including Gravity Active Entertainment, Lane 7, and Boom Battle Bar in the UK, and Funlab in Australia.
“501 Entertainment is excited to bring tech-led competitive socializing to the US,” said 501 Entertainment CEO, Jonny Powell. “The product lineup we’ve assembled for the States will appeal to casual patrons, game enthusiasts, and location operators of pubs and family entertainment centers of all kinds.”
Given that miniature golf has been played in the United States since the 1920s, it makes sense that 100 years later, 501 Entertainment would introduce its reimagined interactive minigolf product at the company’s first trade show event on US soil.
Partnering with Greenspan Projects Ltd (www.greenspanltd.com), a leading design and build company specializing in modular mini golf, 501’s interactive platform transforms traditional minigolf into the kind of fun, social experience that’s made other 501 Entertainment products both popular and commercially successful. Experiential features include automated stroke counting, interactive lighting, and a gamified scoring system that encourages guests try to score as many points as possible by hitting bonuses and avoiding hazards. Scores are sent to players
after the game, so they can share their successes on social media. Automatic guest email capture allows operators to build a local audience of mini golfers.
“With our cutting edge minigolf platform, 501 has utilized technology to enhance key elements of a tried and true social game,” said Powell, “We’ve delivered a powerhouse attention magnet and money-maker for operators of any location looking to provide memorable experiences and unique reasons for guests to extend dwell time.”
Also making their American debut at the International Bowl Expo will be 501’s heralded SMARTS Darts products. Proven to increase footfall, guest stay time, and average spend per head, SMARTS Interactive Darts expand the audience for traditional darts by introducing automated scoring and easy to play, yet highly competitive games.
SMARTS Darts AR will make history at the Bowl Expo as the first Augmented Reality Darts game commercially available in the United States. Guests watch the game automatically keep score, overlay fun graphics presenting targets and lively animations through projection mapping, and even advertise menu items in real-time while gently encouraging friendly competition and social connection. SMARTS Darts AR is classic darts enhanced with videogame excitement.
“501’s SMARTS Augmented Reality Darts perfectly complement bowling and the other activities we operate in our Wandsworth venue”, explained Michael Harrison COO of Gravity Active Entertainment, the fastest-growing leisure company in the U.K. “Given its small footprint, it really packs a punch in terms of utilization revenue and food and beverage sales. Gravity has 6 lanes of 501’s SMARTS Darts AR.
501 products deliver what is now the Amusement Industry’s most important growth concept: Competitive Socializing. While technology is the throughline connecting each of 501’s products, the games at the core of the entire product offering are nearly as old as pubs themselves. By enhancing this foundation of traditional physical gameplay with cutting-edge technology, 501 eliminates the generation gap between seasoned traditionalists and the more experientially motivated Millennial and Gen Z crowds.
“In an ever-changing consumer world where guests are looking for reasons to visit venues, 501 have innovated and delivered cutting edge competitive socializing technology that drives footfall and increases spend per head”, noted Pauline Bass, Director of Gaming at Stonegate Pub Group, the UK’s largest pub company, which operates around 4,800 pubs.
“With the ability to record and share everyday life through social media, consumers are prioritizing spending on experiential activities and are now more willing to invest in socially engaging entertainment that creates memories,” said Powell. “Many of the best operators are starting to provide experiences that boost overall guest spending, increase food and beverage sales, and create an energized, buzz-worthy atmosphere.’ To bring a 501 buzz to your location contact [email protected]
About 501 Entertainment
Since 2018, 501 Entertainment has specialized in creating fun entertainment systems for hospitality venues. Coming from the world of games, 501 has expertise in making engaging products, robust enough to withstand high traffic environments. 501 uses years of experience to deliver cutting-edge technology, meticulously designed for easy integration into the diverse and demanding requirements of hospitality workflows.
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.