Last night, the lady friend and I went to uWink with another couple friend. After talking about it for some time, we decided to check it out.
It all began about a year ago, at the Entrepreneur Association's Conference at UCLA Anderson. Nolan Bushnell, creator of Atari and Chuck-E-Cheese, spoke about his latest venture, uWink. Think digital Chuck-E-Cheese for adults.
Games, photoscapes, and SportsCenter are projected onto the walls while guests order food, drinks, and play games from touch-screen monitors placed in the middle of each table. The atmosphere and technology is supposed to promote an extremely social environment. Unfortunately, the reality of the technology makes the entire experience incredibly antisocial. There were four of us at the table, but we spent hardly any time actually talking or interacting with the couple across the table from us.
Surprisingly, there are NO games that you can play with the entire table. The terminals pop up from the center of the table, like a pyramid, with two monitors, facing opposite sides of the table. The technology fails because each monitor runs separately. In order to create a fully social environment, the terminals need to be sync'd up. Not only do you need to be able to see what the people across the table are doing on their screens, but you need to be able to play games with them.
The ultimate goal of uWink is to become franchised around the country. The location in Woodland Hills is their pilot location. I am concerned because they've been open since October and have still not been able to create a truly multiplayer gaming experience.
As a stockholder, I want nothing more than for uWink to be a huge success. However, after my visit last night, it's got a long way to go. Today's stock buying lesson: experience the product before you buy!
So, with all that being said, please go and spend lots of money there :)