Darts have always been simple enough – a classic pub game that involves throwing small, pointed missiles at a circular target board, aiming for high scores based on where the darts land. Seems pretty straightforward, right? And for decades, it never really got much better than that. Fast forward to today’s latest trend in hospitality. With Augmented Reality (AR) darts, you can bring the hottest new technology to your bar's game room. But are AR darts worth the investment? This guide examines the pros and cons to help you decide.

What Are Augmented Reality Darts?

Augmented reality technology has been successfully integrated into the world of dart playing, offering players a more immersive and interactive experience. AR darts (which also include any type of interactive or virtual darts) combine traditional dart gameplay with digital overlays, interactive features, moving obstacles, and special effects that add a new dimension to the game, making it more dynamic and exciting. Simply put, AR darts players play on smart game boards with a visual overlay.

Not only that, but Augmented Reality can also offer personalized statistics and feedback in real-time, allowing players to track their performance and identify areas for improvement. This innovative technology adds a level of excitement and challenge to traditional dart games with the introduction of new game modes, interactive targets, and customizable features that cater to both casual players and seasoned professionals alike. Overall, Augmented Reality revolutionizes the dart-playing experience by combining physical skill with digital innovation to create a dynamic and engaging environment for players of all levels.

Why are augmented reality darts so trendy?

Augmented Reality darts are the latest trend in hospitality gaming because, like just about any new-fangled gadget, they appeal to an audience of people who are used to being immersed in their own digital worlds. AR darts bring a high-tech twist to the classic pub pastime by featuring immersive graphics, interactive challenges, and futuristic gameplay that elevate the dart-throwing experience to a whole new level.

As we’ve learned from the continually rising overall trend of competitive socializing, bar owners can find great success and build high profits by offering diverse crowds plenty of challenging activities to engage with that extend their dwell time and keep them in your business for as long as possible. And this is exactly what AR darts are designed to dov – from competitive multiplayer modes to solo missions, these games offer a diverse range of options to entertain both casual players and dart enthusiasts. And the longer they play, the longer they are ordering food and drinks and truly making the most of their visit to your place of business. It’s a win-win situation.

The benefits of using augmented reality darts

A guy holding a variety of magnetic darts for a game of AR darts.

When comparing Augmented Reality dart games with the real thing, the similarities are obvious. But it’s the more subtle differences that make it like pitting a sleek sports car against a horse-drawn carriage. While traditional dart games have their charm and nostalgia, interactive and virtual dart games provide a modern and dynamic twist.

> Improved Accuracy and Precision: AR darts help players refine their aiming skills and enhance their accuracy by providing visual cues and guidance, ultimately leading to better performance and higher scores.

> Enhanced Engagement and Immersion: By merging the physical and digital worlds, AR darts create a more engaging and immersive gaming experience, keeping players entertained and motivated to continue playing and improving.

With interactive gameplay and endless customization options, AR darts ultimately offer a fresh and exciting take on a classic game that's sure to appeal to both traditionalists and tech-savvy players alike.

The future of augmented reality darts

As technology continues to evolve, the future of Augmented Reality looks bright. Advancements in this type of technology, which include improved motion tracking, enhanced visual effects, and more sophisticated gameplay mechanics, promise to take virtual dart games to new heights. Players can look forward to more realistic dart physics, customizable game settings, and innovative features that blur the lines between virtual and real-world gameplay. The versatility of AR technology opens up a world of possibilities for how darts can be experienced and enjoyed within the hospitality industry, making them a great business investment that promises solid returns.

Bring AR to Your BAR: The Ultimate PROs & CONs

So, now that you know what AR darts are, and the reason they are so popular among many of today’s bar-hopping audiences, should you, as a bar or hospitality venue owner, try to incorporate this virtual technology into your space?

From a business perspective, there are both benefits and drawbacks to incorporating AR dart games into your venue. Depending on the size of your space, as well as your budget and overhead costs, and even the number of people who work for your company, it may be a decision worth mulling over. Some of the pros and cons of adding interactive or virtual darts to your hospitality business include:

Pros of AR Darts:

  • It’s a novel, high-tech gaming experience that has heavy potential to attract new/younger customers
  • They take up less physical space than traditional dart boards
  • Players have many gameplay customization options with different games, backgrounds, and targets
  • Players have the ability to play solo or online multiplayer

Cons of AR Darts:

  • Equipment can be expensive for a large setup
  • Technical glitches or connectivity issues can disrupt gameplay
  • Players may not want to spend the whole night playing darts
  • Players may prefer the traditional feel and social experience of regular darts
  • Current trend, will there be staying power?

Some other key considerations before making your business decision include:

  • Invest with confidence: Sure, it might seem like a great addition to your bar. But is it a smart business decision? Consider weighing the upfront and long-term costs against the potential for increased business by comparing your accounting books.
  • Think small before going big: make sure that you’re onto something by installing one AR set before fully replacing all of your physical dart boards
  • Ask around: there is no better marketing than getting direct customer feedback about your business. During your AR test period, gauge the audience's response – do they like the AR darts? Do you find that they spend more time in the bar when playing virtually vs. traditionally? Are they buying more food and drinks than not?
  • Is it the best competitive socializing option for your bar: While any type of activity can be a great way to bring people to your bar, you should consider what will have the best investment for your space. For example if you have a spare room, creating a karaoke room could bring a 12% profit growth.

    Check out our bar activity comparison guide to decide which option is best for you

In all, AR darts represent a thrilling fusion of traditional dart gameplay with cutting-edge technology that offers players an immersive and interactive experience like never before. By overlaying digital elements onto the physical dartboard, augmented reality enhances the game by providing real-time feedback, statistics, and interactive features that elevate the playing experience. But like with any compeitive socializing activity, it is best to combine it with other activites like karaoke, billiards, or shuffle board to keep your customers entertained all night long.