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Review of indoor laser tag equipment producers

P&C Micro’s

To start with, here is a review of indoor laser tag equipment by P&C Micro – one of biggest developers and producers of game equipment for laser tag arenas. This company has been producing laser tag equipment with brand name Zone Empire for the world market for over 20 years.
 
 
As it has big experience and good industrial base, the company provides technical support to over 300 playfields (mainly located in the US and Western Europe) on which its equipment is used.

Throughout this long time period, the company released a whole line of equipment intended for different start-up budgets – starting from the basic Begeara system that requires investments of $15000 - $20000, to a more advanced Nexus (from $45000). The company has just announced a launch of Helios and Helios PRO systems that are going to replace the outdated Rift and Nexus.

Since 2008 the company has been delivering its equipment to Russia. The following models are available on our market nowadays:
 
* * *
 
Begeara
(the price of one set for 12 participants, according to the data provided by one of Russian suppliers, is 590000 roubles at a currency rate of $=30 roubles, which amounts to around $19.6 thousands. Imagine its price now at the current currency rate of $=57 roubles)
 
 
Basic mobile system with the possibility to integrate it into an arena. No PC connection is required. Can be used on any suitable playfield – on an open area, inside a camp, at a recreation park as well as on a specially equipped arena. This way it can be used for events held at different places.

To simplify its construction and make it cost-effective, the producer stopped using traditional vests and only fitted players’ blasters with defeat sensors. The lightweight (just 600 grams) and durable blaster made from transparent polycarbonate is ideal for kids. Thanks to the other hand sensor, which has long become the standard of indoor laser tag, the game is honest and safe. Game control is administered by a special remote through a radio channel at a distance of up to 200 metres. It has been made possible to monitor and display statistics in real time and deactivate those players who break the rules. The set is packed inside a special case, which functions as a charger. It can be easily fitted into a car boot.


Main distinctive features of the BEGEARA system as compared to older versions:   

  • There are no vests with sensors: players only receive blasters. Accordingly, only the sensors on a rival’s blaster body will detect hits.
  • One is not bound to a stationary play area: the system is fully mobile and allows to organize a game at any suitable play area.
  • User-friendly software and game statistics indication: neither a PC nor a monitor is required for the system to function.
  • A special case for play sets transportation: can be connected to the mains and used as a charger. Can be connected to a car’s lighter socket, which increases its mobility.
A complete BEGEARA set includes: 
  • Blasters (up to 12 in one case)
  • An information screen
  • A radio module
  • A remote control
  • A case for transportation
  • Chargers and cables
  • An adapter for a car’s lighter socket


* * *

RIFT BLASTERS
(the price of one set for 12 players is about $38.5 thousand)
 
 
RIFT BLASTERS is a unique lower cost version of the NEXUS system. It has been specially designed for the Russian market. This is the first fully russified laser tag system on our market made by an overseas producer. The software as well as the sound arrangement of the game including all the sound effects have been translated into Russian.

The look and the technical characteristics of RIFT play sets are same as those of NEXUS. The additional equipment is same, too. Changes have been done to the software functional specification. RIFT system users cannot enter players’ names spontaneously, cannot set up the number of points for hitting particular sensors and interactive devices and several other parameters. More importantly, less than half of the game scenarios offered by NEXUS are available. At the same time, the outstanding quality, well thought out sets and an adequate number of game scenarios make RIFT BLASTERS one of the most exciting options in this price range.
 
A player’s set comprises a vest and a blaster. Defeat sensors on a vest and on a blaster provide 4 defeat areas (blaster, back, chest-shoulders on the left, chest-shoulders on the right). A double infrared block makes a battle spectacular: a visible infrared fire ray looks eye-catching in the darkness of an arena, while an invisible infrared ray records hits. Modern lithium polymer accumulators provide continuous operation of playsets for the duration of a whole day without the need to recharge them. Players’ weapons have LCD displays on them, which provide all the necessary game information.
All the plastic details (blaster body and targets’ sensors) are made from light impact resistant polycarbonate. The vest is made from a synthetic fabric, which makes it extra lightweight (less than 2.5 kg!), durable and makes using the playsets very comfortable. Thanks to the variable LEDs colour, there is a diverse colour indication, which corresponds to a particular game mode and player’s status. The wireless connection makes it possible to control game modes and collect game statistics in real-time mode.

Modern algorithms of signals processing and extra sensitive sensors make it possible to play a game not only in a darkened labyrinth, but also at daylight. For players’ safety there is a second hand sensor on a blaster and rubberized ends of blaster barrels.

The following additional devices have been added to the equipment set:
  • An interactive base
  • An interactive mine
  • An energizer
  • A referee’s remote
The Rift offers 10 unique game formats for lovers of laser tag battles! In each of them, you can modify up to 10 various parameters, thus creating your own unique game! The available game formats are as follows:
  • Single-player
  • Team
  • QTeam
  • Single-player knockout game
  • Team knockout game
  • Birthday, Single-player game
  • Birthday, team game
  • Vampires
  • Беспрерывная
  • Infusion, etc.
 
Software:
A new software set has been specially developed for Rift Blaster. It has a simple user-friendly game interface with a description of rules and of all the available options. Some of the possibilities of the program are as follows:
  • Printing out results and repeated printing out
  • Displaying used up minutes and the number of games that finished
  • Displaying the status of the license
  • Displaying the page with playsets statuses
  • Displaying the results of teams and of each player

When buying an equipment set a user gets an electronic license key for one year. License renewal for another year will cost $800.

 

* * *

NEXUS
(the price of one set for 12 players is around $49 grand)
 
 
Compared to the abovementioned RIFT system, NEXUS has more comprehensive and functional software. There are no distinctions as to the items that are included in a set.
 
 
A simple user-friendly interface includes a set of modules that perform all the required functions:
  • Collection, processing and displaying of game statistics (on screen and printing out)
  • Control over sound arrangement with added possibility to create and edit play lists
  • Choosing game scenarios (over 20, which is twice as many as in RIFT) and changing their parameters, which opens endless opportunities for modelling systems made by various producers
  • The possibility to change the play name of any playset
  • Registering of all game sessions in a special statistics journal that is protected against editing
  • Playsets firmware upgrade
 
* * *
 
Begeare, RIFT and NEXUS are the chief models by Zone Empire supplied to the Russian market. The producer has recently announced HELIOS and HELIOS PRO play systems.
A number of innovative solutions, that were applied to them and took them to a new technical level, are as follows:
  • Creating a player’s account and linking it to a personal card. This card allows to activate a player’s vest at the start of a game and to pay for game time and additional services and items, which can be purchased on the territory of a laser tag club. This allows to cut down on the amount of time that is required bring a player into a game and to avoid any misuse on the part of players and staff when paying for game time and additional services.
  • Player’s game statistics is saved in his personal account and is available online worldwide at any club that has such equipment.
  • Players’ vests are fitted with card readers which are activated by means of a player’s card and a module of a 2.4 GHz radio channel, thus enabling sending of game statistics in real time mode.
  • Blasters have built-in advance security hit sensors. This stops excessively impulsive players from taking revenge on other players by turning off their equipment. The PRO version blaster is fitted with a Wi-Fi module for connection, a 3-inch multicolour sensor screen, which displays game statistics, a photo of a shot down player and aiming indication, which shows a player a target he is aiming at or warns him when he becomes a target himself.
  • The system of self-diagnostics allows to test all the elements of a player’s vest and blaster. It notifies about any faults that have to be repaired either immediately or in the nearest future. A faults report is automatically sent to a service centre that performs the equipment maintenance.
  • The statistics and the process of a game are displayed on a separate screen.
  • Game equipment can be controlled and checked from an administrator’s Android smartphone.
* * *
 

LASERFORCE
 
Based in 1987, the Laserforce company is one of the acknowledged world producers of laser tag equipment. The firm executes technical support for own equipment in the US, Great Britain, Australia and Russia.
 
 
Gen7
(the price of one Gen7 playset for 12 players is $57 000 (over 3 000 000 Russian roubles))
 
Included in a basic Gen7 playset for 12 players:
  • Players’ ammunition (vest + blaster) – 12 sets
  • A referee’s vest
  • A starting module for ammunition activation
  • A laptop
  • Zap-Tag software
  • An additional Helloween game
  • A large screen
  • A base
  • A chargerо
  • A set of extra parts
 
Here are a few more new additions from Laserforce:

The developers added a new function, which is an aiming notification – when a player aims his blaster at a rival a sound signal notifies him about the target acquisition so he can fire. Now there is a distinctive sound for hits and misses. When a player’s vest vibrates it means that he has been hit.

New accumulators with a higher capacity make it possible to play an intensive game without the need to recharge for up to 2 days.

A built in self-diagnostic and monitoring system checks equipment state and its modes of operation, which allows to control the operation of an entertainment centre.

Changes were made to systems of payment and of players’ registration. Regular players receive a personal card on registration. On the card, there are credits that can be topped up through a cash machine and used to pay for game time, as well as for goods and services on the territory of the club. Besides, all game statistics of a registered user is linked to his card and can be accessed online.
 
 
* * *
 
 
LASERWAR
 

A Smolensk based LASERWAR company is one of the greatest producers of laser tag equipment in Russia. For now, the company is the leader in promotion of laser tag clubs in Russia as well as overseas. Over 500 various organizations use its products. Such numbers are the marker of active productive work and consumers’ trust.
 

Besides, LASERWAR does a great job popularizing laser tag – this company is the author of a huge number of popularizing videos about indoor and outdoor laser tag and about game equipment. This is an important fact, for today laser tag needs to be taken to a higher level more than ever before.

The company places a lot of emphasis the design and reliability of its equipment. A well-developed warrantee system and post warrantee service contribute to this. Thanks to media support of products on company websites, detailed information provided by their specialists during consultations and loyalty to customers their customers are left with a pleasant impression and a desire for further cooperation.

A distinctive characteristic of the company policy is its free software. A user buys game equipment and downloads the latest software version from the website. There is free access to it. No extra fee.

Let’s now see what the company offers for indoor laser tag. The company created a separate website for it – cybertag.ru. Even a player that hardly knows much about this direction can get a lot of information about it, starting from the basics and ending with educational videos on starting own business and on laser tag arena creation. Uniform style videos and articles create a comprehensive information block on indoor game basics and rules, equipment and arena construction, details on application, pitfalls of business management and a lot more about things you always wanted to know about but were afraid to ask.
 
 
The equipment presented on the website beats in many respects the one produced by overseas companies thanks to the thought-out construction, attractive design and high quality of production and used materials. 

All-in-all, in the construction of vests and blasters many things become the standard de facto, meaning that every producer that respects himself and his client must meet a certain level. Some are better at this, while others are not as good (for example, there is a notion of “cheap quality”).

At LASERWAR, everything is done to the highest technological standard:
  • Light, breathable vest lining can be changed easily and meets all the required hygienic requirements and provides comfort to a player;
  • Bright multicolour vests illumination indicates to which team a player belongs, as well as hits, game status and a lot more;
  • Vibro motors on vests and weapons create additional effect during a game;
  • Hit sensors in a vest create three defeat zones from any direction;
  • Additional sensors in a weapon are the fourth defeat area that ensures a fair game;
  • The other hand sensor serves same purpose – this is an imperative rule of indoor laser tag;
  • Compact weapon dimensions, small weight and transparent polycarbonate body with bright illumination ensure game comfort and safety on a darkened arena, which is especially important for children;
  • A 2.4 GHz radio channel module that is built into a blaster ensures good connection with an arena control centre;
  • Li-ion accumulators provide 8 to 14 hours of continuous game, depending on how action filled it is.
 
Yet besides the standard options there are several special features which make a game extra spectacular and comfortable both for players and arena administrators.
  • Company chevrons with a logo of a club or a team
  • Cross-shaped LED illumination during firing is safer than the outdated laser one and looks rather spectacular during a game
  • Superior sound arrangement won’t leave anyone indifferent
  • An additional multifunctional IGB device (Interactive game base) can be programmed to function as a base, mine, first aid kit, energizer, thus significantly increasing the number of scenarios. The built into an IGB additional radio base increases the connection zone of an arena.
  • A real labyrinth gem that players had even no idea about is actually software that controls an arena. Simple user-friendly interface, a wide range of functions and a variety of scenarios. To top these all, the built-in program for diagnosis and display of the state of play sets in real time - the levels of battery charge, radio signal, the power of firing and a lot of other parameters that make it possible to detect the equipment that requires maintenance – an instrument no arena administrator can do without.
  • We can’t but mention the running like clockwork technical support department, which attends to any clients’ problems. It is not located over the hills and far away, which is the case for many globally renowned companies. Added to all the above mentioned, this makes products by this company first choice for you.
 
LASERWAR offers several variants of indoor equipment sets designed for various start-up budgets.

We will now examine a set for 12 players, just as we did with the offers of the producers we looked into earlier.

This is a basic set in the START bundle at a price of 535 000 roubles (this equals a little over $9000 at a current rate of $1=57 Russian roubles). Included in the bundle is a minimum set of equipment that is sufficient for playing standard scenarios:
  • 10 sets “blaster + vest” + 2 free sets
  • Software
  • Interactive Game Bases IGB – 2 pcs.
  • A radio base – 1 pc.
  • Chargers – 15 pcs.
  • Spare parts repair kit – 1 pc.
 
One more set – OPTIMA – is great for playing most scenarios that are available and includes 2 additional sets “blaster + vest”, 2 energizers, yet one more radio base and additional accumulators. The price of one play set is 660 000 roubles.

SMART, PRO and ELITE versions include more extensive sets. The latter was designed for 48 players , it’s price is 2 139 500 roubles.

Basically, a user can increase the amount of items in his set, thus making it more up-to-date, by purchasing any required equipment and additional devices from the company online store.
 
* * *
 

 

SUMMARY

 
In a nutshell, as we sum up the examined material, we can conclude that LASERWAR price policy is ultimately devastating for competitors. In fact, only the price of a Begeara set for 12 players by P&C Micro’s is just twice as high ($19000 against $9000). Yet Begeara play sets are comprised only of blasters, there are no vests, but they cost twice as much. The only Begeara advantages are its mobility and ease of use when travelling.
 
The price of another competitor – which is RIFT – can only be compared to that of the ELITE set. 12 players against 48 – here is nothing to discuss. There is no point in comparing the price of products by other producers. If any of these sets have advantages such as additional equipment, for this price difference consumers that buy LASERWAR equipment can figuratively fill up their labyrinth with additional equipment, that is very assorted by the way.
 
By suppling license keys for a year, overseas companies turn their customers into Cinderellas whose carriage turns into a pumpkin equipment turns into a useless pile of metal, so they need to pay another $800 to renew their license. A user that buys LASERWAR equipment will enjoy the full rights of ownership. No extra fees for license renewal or software upgrades.
 

In the table below you can see prices compared:
 
Company Equipment Player’s set Number of players Price
P&CMicro’s Begeara  Blaster  12 participants $19 600
P&CMicro’s RIFT Blaster + Vest 12 participants $38 000
P&CMicro’s NEXUS  Blaster + Vest 12 participants $49 000
LASERFORCE  Gen7 Blaster + Vest 12 participants  $57 000
LASERWAR  START  Blaster + Vest 12 participants $9 400 *
LASERWAR  OPTIMA Blaster + Vest 14 participants $11 600 *
LASERWAR  SMART  Blaster + Vest 18 participants $14 400 *
LASERWAR  PRO  Blaster + Vest 24 participants $19 300 *
LASERWAR  ELITE Blaster + Vest 48 participants $37 500 *
* (prices for LASERWAR sets may vary. They depend on currency rates fluctuations. The currency rate used for calculating the prices stated in the table is $1=57 roubles)

 
Certainly, Gen7 by LASERFORCE cannot be compared to Begeara or even NEXUS – the technical level of the introduced solutions is significantly higher. This is next generation equipment with possibilities to personalize a player online, a player’s personal card and further extras. Still, the financial aspect often plays a crucial role. Here, the highly technological and stylish LASERWAR equipment has a big advantage when it comes to a correlation of price and quality not only on the Russian market – it is sure to be very competitive abroad, too.

For Russian customers, good timely technical support that is available locally plays an important role. There are over 40 service centres that are ready to help clients deal with problems that may arise, update firmware, modernize their equipment. Responsive information and technical support and responsible approach to clients’ needs, free access to software updates – these are the distinctive characteristics of the Smolensk based producer, making a consumer’s choice not just easy, but very easy.

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