MIAMI -- The first GameWorks attraction on the East Coast opened
here early this year amid plans to market this and other GameWorks
to the travel trade.
The interactive entertainment attraction here, inspired by
"E.T." and "Jurassic Park" creator Steven Spielberg, is the eighth
opened in less than two years and the third in a major visitor
destination. The other two are in Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif. The
31,000-square-foot facility here is part of the Shops at Sunset
Place, a new entertainment and shopping complex on U.S. 1 in South
Miami, just south of Coral Gables.
Besides GameWorks, anchors of the new complex include South
Florida's first Virgin music megastore, an IMAX theater, a
24-theater movieplex, FAO Schwarz and a Niketown.
GameWorks is a joint venture of Sega GameWorks, Spielberg's
DreamWorks SKG, and Universal Studios. It consists of nearly 200
high-tech electronic games, music videos, the Grill sit-down
restaurant, two sophisticated bars, a clothing souvenir shop and
two private rooms for meetings.
Admission to GameWorks is free, and no cash is deposited into
game machines. A programmed play card is sold at a cashier's box at
various price levels, which in turn are tied to game units. "We are
promoting GameWorks, particularly in major visitor destinations, as
a kind of micro-destination," said Dale Freer, vice president of
sales, based in Universal City, Calif. "Our intention is for
GameWorks to be a top-of-mind attraction for visitors in major
tourist destinations," he said.
The GameWorks here as well as those in Las Vegas and Anaheim are
already being marketed to the overseas travel trade, he said, and a
domestic trade campaign aimed at motorcoach operators and meeting
planners is planned. Products being developed for wholesalers
include the play card, meal options and merchandise, Freer said.
"We've had a tremendous response from wholesalers," he added, such
as those from Australia, Brazil, Great Britain and Japan. "Most
wholesalers want to incorporate the meal," he said, "because the
dinner experience can round out an entire evening's
He said the convention market has demonstrated strong interest,
particularly in Las Vegas, with all or part of the facilities
available for private use, including private guest rooms. "We're
working already with some of the top companies in the country,
particularly in Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif.," he said.
GameWorks is working with travel companies on the basis of net
pricing or a standard 10% commission. The demographics for
GameWorks is from 18 to 35 years, he said, adding: "Gamers of all
ages really get into it."
The centerpiece of GameWorks is the Arena, where the game
Vertical Reality allows 12 players at a time to compete in a
vertical challenge game which has a 24-foot descending "free fall."
Another key area is the Loading Dock, where state-of-the-art games
are straight from Sega's development laboratories in Japan and the
By the end of this year, a total of 11 domestic GameWorks,
ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet are slated, including in
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Chicago. International cities slated to
host the attraction include Guam as well as Rio de Janeiro and Sao
Paulo in Brazil.
All told, 10 more locations will be opened within the next 12 to
24 months, he said. GameWorks hours: Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.;
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight. Phone: