BYOP: Should Gamers Bring Their Own Peripherals?Posted on: Oct 28, 2017 By admin in Tips,
To allow players to bring their own peripherals, or not to allow them to bring their own peripherals. That is the question.
On one hand, gamers are itching to break out their own keyboards, headsets, and mice, and on the other, you’d like to keep third party softwares off your machines. Plus it would be nice to keep business operations as simple as possible. Is there truly a way for both patrons and owners to win?
Why You Should Let Gamers Use Their Own Peripherals
The bottom line is, allowing a gamer to bring in their own peripherals can really help you keep costs down.
After all, gamers are notorious for getting a little too rough with equipment when they get excited. You know the sound: the repetitive, heavy clicking and clacking of mice and keys. There’s no two ways about it–gamers are a passionate bunch.
Even if your customers don’t break equipment often, your equipment will generally suffer less wear if you instate a pro-BYOP policy. This is because keyboards and headsets are peripherals that need to be replaced often. Plus allowing gamers to bring their own gear is an easy way to keep them happy, as well as attract customers who otherwise wouldn’t come in. (After all, serious gamers don’t spend several hundred dollars to leave their keyboards at home!)
The Dark Side of BYOP
But allowing gamers to bring in their own gear isn’t easy. After all, how can you expect to truly manage your cafe if you have to be concerned with a new set of peripheral-related issues? The problems that could come up include:
Third party software installation–This can be a real pain. If they need to, customers will download software on their own in order to use their peripherals. This could slow down or disrupt your PCs, not to mention create additional work for your employees when they have to uninstall the surprise software.
Unfair advantages–Fancy peripherals can create unnecessary conflict between customers. Whether it’s at a tournament or just everyday competitive gaming, relying on expensive equipment can cause intense rivalries that kill fun for surrounding patrons.
How to Create Policies That Protect Your Peripherals
In general, allowing customers to bring in their own keyboards and headsets can lower your costs and increase customer happiness. But whether you choose to allow this or not, you need to establish your own rules surrounding the equipment you loan out to customers.
The first step is to make sure that you strike a balance between cost effective and sturdy peripherals. You want the majority of your keyboards and headsets to survive the year, but you also don’t want to break down in tears each time you have to replace something. Check out this great keyboard guide at Start a LAN Center–while it may be a little dated, it gives you a sense of what you should be looking for in your keyboards. Try to find good bulk prices, and avoid anything with buggy or complicated software.
The second step is to enforce a checkout policy. Holding onto someone’s ID and tagging the equipment with numbers can be a great way to keep tabs of who has what, and it also creates a sense of accountability. (Tag peripherals with gaming references for creativity points!) It may be a good idea to enforce damage fees or account penalties, but be careful–if the fee is low enough, people might feel that it’s a small price to pay in order to go as crazy as they’d like.
In his Ted Talk, writer Clay Shirky describes an experiment testing the deterrence theory using late fees in day cares. It turns out, adding a punishment to deter certain behaviors might actually normalize them if the penalty isn’t hefty enough.
Additionally, you may want to establish rules concerning food and drink, that way you can protect your peripherals from dreaded concession accidents.
Managing Downloads and Your PCs
Just because you decide to let someone bring in his own peripherals, doesn’t mean you only have to worry about protecting your own keyboards and mice. Remember that your precious PCs could be at stake.
There are certain boundaries to set concerning program downloads, and it may be in your best interest to install relevant programs yourself. Communicate to your patrons through signage and your website which programs your PCs have available. Additionally, create clear guidelines surrounding peripherals in competitive events–it may be best to ban them completely in these cases (or exclude those you feel would give a user an unfair advantage).
It’s generally best to be strict about software downloads in general. It may be in your best interest to point this out, especially when it comes to special tools that allow people to re-configure their mice and what have you. It’s more trash on your PC, as well as more likely to cause a scene.
Don’t Stress–You Can Always Change it Up
Sometimes as a business owner you get stressed out over the mere thought of what could go wrong. This makes sense, because your rational, decision-making brain want to prevent bad situations from going down in the first place. But sometimes it’s okay to experiment.
Don’t be afraid to allow customers to bring in their own peripherals for a few months to see how it goes. Or if a policy is currently causing you a lot of problems, try implementing new rules. The point is that if things aren’t working, try something new. And then keep adjusting to level up your business.
What are your peripheral-related policies? Do you like it when customers bring in their own gear?
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