There is a lot that can be said about a friendly atmosphere and a fun place to gather.
This has been the hallmark of good quality clubs, bars, and restaurants across the globe. As the eSports community grows more and more, their interest and desire for the same kind of space starts to grow as well.
What kind of place would an eSports bar be? Is there truly a market for them? What do they mean for the eSports community at large? And how does bars and esports come together?
Let’s find out.
A Growing Community
Over the past decade, the very concept of eSports has gone from a distant prospect to a booming industry. Now there are tournaments hosted in packed stadiums with million dollar payouts.
With this kind of growth, the community around eSports has exploded. With millions of fans around the globe, tuning in to streams and live coverage across the world, there are certainly eyes on eSports material.
This large-scale appeal, combined with the overall gaming audience that has exploded alongside it, makes appealing to gamers a lucrative and powerful business option.
The rise of the eSports bars around Europe and the US is just one of the many businesses that have attempted to tackle on the wide reach of the gaming audience. How do they do it?
The Aspects of an eSports Bar
The eSports bar had become a huge hit in many different forms across Asia, especially in Japan and South Korea, where many major eSports events are heldu.
In Asia and Europe, for instance, chains like Wanyoo and Meltdown bars are on the rise. They have grown considerably over the past five years, opening several new locations each year. They have acted as one of the most efficient physical community builders for eSports and gaming, in general.
Businesses like eSports bars are eager to capitalize on the mass-market appeal of gaming. To do so, they need to understand what elements of gaming people would want to leave their house for and even pay to see and participate in.
There are a few major aspects of gaming that benefit from a physical community hotspot and social interaction. These aspects are gaming itself, event streaming, and a gaming themed atmosphere.
The first aspect, the gaming itself, can be a tough and expensive sell. Gaming consoles and computers are not cheap, and multiples of them can add up. Having a large set of your own to rent out makes for a massive upfront cost.
As well, with online gaming, most gamers don’t need to leave their house to play with others. Unlike the arcades of old, you need more than just games to attract them.
Still, the prospect of new games that some have not tried before is an appeal that has merit. The idea of gaming itself will be best combined with the other two aspects.
The second aspect, event streaming, is an aspect that is a lot like the usual sports bars. Instead of football, baseball, and others running on the TVs, the bar would run the latest eSports competition, or perhaps a high level or local streamer.
Plus, many streamers incorporate their community chat into their streaming, responding to viewers, and creating a conversation.
An eSports bar can do the same by sparking in-person discussion amongst patrons. This gives a familiar, but unique experience to the concept of streaming.
The third aspect, a gaming-themed atmosphere, will need a good layer of genuine interest, but when done right can make your customer base feel welcomed and understood.
This aspect has some of the biggest potentials, as gamers can watch their favorite League of Legends, Overwatch, and Dota 2 team matches among like-minded peeers in an interactive way.
Without a genuine understanding of the gamer culture, this can come off as horribly forced and even cynical. It is a dangerous thing to balance, but it can be easy to overcome with the right kind of respect and research.
Overall, it is a combination of all three of these things that will make a good eSports bar. Without these aspects working together in some way or form, the baru will either fall short or feel really forced.
The Future of the eSports Bar
These types of establishments have started to pop up across the US and Europe, though they rarely have a single, absolute design or method.
Some cater more heavily to overall gaming or even board games. This expands their market and allows for a much more forgiving ability to stock games, as board games are much less expensive than video games to own and rent.
Other establishments go all in, acting as a sort of eSports lounge, fit with a host of computers to play on and renting out the space to gaming groups.
There are dozens of potential details an establishment can tinker with. Do you serve food and drink? Do you host your own gaming events? Do you sell accessories and other things to become a more full game store?
No matter what configuration exists, it will be interesting to see which, if any, can last. eSports is a heavily internet based phenomenon, and trying to capture that in a physical place can be fickle.
The answer to this will come with how well rounded the establishment can be. Gaming is a wide net to cater to, and eSports can be brought in almost as easily as any subgroup of the gaming circle. Appeal to all, and any can fit in.
In the end, that is what will make these places special, a place for gamers to love and share their favored passion with those that love it as well.1