We’re taking gaming outdoors this summer with the new Open Arcade at Southbank. Using digital sensing technology, this pilot explores how a public game might present a safe (socially-distanced), accessible, fun and community-building experience, driving city visitation and connection. The fun, inclusive and free initiative was selected as a pilot in the Reimagining the City Challenge.

People of all ages and abilities can play one of four digital games on a big screen at Queensbridge Square each day between 7am - 8pm from now until 4 March.

No equipment is required. Players can simply step into the game zone at our new free trial site to trigger the start of play. Each game runs for about five minutes.

Open Arcade is a non-contact, slow-paced game combining high-tech fun and futuristic outdoor play.

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The details

The details

Through this pilot we aim to better understand:

  • What type of game could be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of language, physical ability or prior knowledge.
  • Who might benefit most from open space gaming.
  • If this type of urban experience could influence the prosperity of our city businesses.
  • If games and play opportunities could strengthen communities.

Between one and 12 players will be transformed into digital controllers using a camera, LED screen, processor and super computer, combined with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and custom software. New players can join at any time.

Their movements will be tracked in real-time and instructions and prompts will appear on the screen.

To learn about the devices we’re using and how the data is collected and used, see ‘More on the technology' below or email us for more information.

Visit Queensbridge Square between 7am - 8pm between now and 4 March 2022 to play Open Arcade. Consultation has now closed.

  • If a game is in progress, join in, or wait for the next game.
  • A maximum of 12 players at a time.
  • Children aged under 12 must be supervised by an adult.
  • Open Arcade is a fun, kind space so please be considerate to others.

There are four games to play at Open Arcade: Drawing Game, Blob Game, Fluid Simulation and Quiz Game. Players can use their bodies to create unique virtual art, guide animated icons through a digital realm or test their knowledge through a quiz.

We’ve been analysing the data, conducting on-site observations and asking for your feedback about the Open Arcade experience to date. This is helping our team to understand the impacts of the game and discover ways to improve the gaming experience for players and spectators.

We’ve made several changes, including:

  • Added more information on the screen about how Open Arcade works, with pictures and titles for each game so that players can choose the game they’d like to play.
  • Added tips for players throughout the game to improve the user experience.
  • Updated content to ensure Open Arcade suits all ages and abilities.
  • Sped up the game times to entice new players to join and allow as many people to experience Open Arcade as possible.
  • Added a trigger to alert our engineers to remotely restart the game in real-time if there are any screen issues.

Here’s what we’ve found so far:

  • A total of 16,300 games have been played, with an average of 330 games per day.
  • Tuesday is the most popular day to play, with 21 December 2021 and 4 January 2022 the most popular dates to play (more than 24 hours of accumulated game play each).
  • Some players enjoyed discovering the border of the game area while others would have preferred physical markings to clearly know where they can play Open Arcade.
  • As Open Arcade is an outdoor gaming experience, we’re aware that weather can have an impact on the number of people interacting with Open Arcade.
  • All group sizes have played. The most popular number playing Open Arcade at one time has been one, followed by groups of two to four players. Open Arcade can have up to 12 players at once, so bring your friends and family and play a game together.

There’s still time to join in the fun at Queensbridge Square as we continue to test this pilot until 4 March.

No personal information will be captured during Open Arcade and no video footage will be stored.

Discover more about the devices, data and data passage below.

We’ve partnered with User Experience/Interaction Design students from Swinburne University of Technology’s School of Design and Architecture.

They’ve considered issues like safety, sharing, user types, behaviour types and how to make this game a fun, inclusive and accessible experience for all. The work produced by these students informed the development of Open Arcade.

Examples of student work:

While the games are inactive, the Open Arcade screen showcases six video works created by Melbourne artists that were curated by Bianca “Billy” Raffin with SIGNAL. Artists include Jenn Tran, Chelsea Hickman, Anne Wagner, Sam Kariotis and Phoebe Thompson.

The technology

More on the technology

We’re collecting data about the location of players. Additional data will be collected to:

  • Determine the popularity of Open Arcade for players and spectators
  • Rank the popularity of the four games
  • Allow insights to inform future applications

The City of Melbourne and SAGE Group are collecting statistics on the way members of the public are interacting with the game to assist with the evaluation.

We’re collecting metrics on:

  • Spectators surrounding the play area
  • Players
  • Average duration of play
  • Player movements and their proximity to other players
  • De-identified pedestrian counts to suggest spectator numbers (within a 70m radius)
  • Health status of the devices operating the game

These metrics are collected anonymously so specific players can’t be identified. We’ll also be surveying participants and spectators.

  • The video stream is processed on site with the machine vision processor. Information is only stored for the purposes of security management.
  • The machine vision processor delivers x-y positions of players in the game area to the computer. Players are represented by a randomly generated identifier.
  • The pedestrian counting data is cryptographically hashed.
  • All de-identified data is sent to cloud storage in Melbourne in encrypted format.
  • Some data appears on dashboards in real-time for City of Melbourne and SAGE to ensure the health of the system, including system temperature and computer health.
  • A second dashboard accessible by City of Melbourne and SAGE Group displays the de-identified data for insights about game popularity. We will share insights from this dashboard here when the game is live.
  • The City of Melbourne and SAGE as a contracted service provider uses this data to assess the benefits and impacts of games like this in public spaces.
  • This data is stored permanently for any possible future analysis.



  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Selection as one of three winners for the Reimagining the City challenge

    May 2021

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    Pilot kick-off

    June 2021

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    UX design kick-off with Swinburne design students

    August 2021

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Design development phase 

    September to November 2021

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    Installation and testing

    14 to 17 December 2021

  • Timeline item 6 - complete

    Phase one of Open Arcade activation

    18 December to 10 January 2022

  • Timeline item 7 - complete

    Community consultation

    18 December 2021 to 4 March 2022

  • Timeline item 8 - complete

    Phase two of Open Arcade activation with improvements

    22 January to 4 March 2022

For further information and feedback:

Contact us on: 03 9658 9658 or smartcities@melbourne.vic.gov.au

Emerging Technology Testbed