[Nathan Murray] So what measures are you willing to take if confrontation does break out?
Well there’s a few things. I’m not too worried about anyone getting in my face. I’m not going to be threatening about it, I’m just going to calmly ask you to leave. If it continues, I’ll tell you I’m going to call the police. I won’t physically escort you out of the building, but if you get in my face I will defend myself. So I doubt we’ll ever go there; Gamerz isn’t that kind of a place, it’s a family friendly environment and people know that coming in. We’ve only had once incident and it was resolved quickly, and they haven’t been back by the way. It’s just bad it had to happen.
[Sean Colleli] Are you having any launch parties coming up? I think your wife mentioned you are having a Civilization launch party.
She would know more about what we’re doing with that. That’s marketing related, she handles the marketing aspect and I handle the operational side of things. If there’s something coming up I help plan it, but I haven’t talked to her about that one. We’ve done two launch parties so far, and they’ve both been kind of a bust. The Club was hyped, we hyped it for months before it came out, we had posters everywhere, we were talking it up, letting people come play it for free. Some people liked it, but most people preferred Halo or Call of Duty. It was too slow for people, too slow for me. There were a few people who liked it because it was unique, with the multipliers and the score, you know, it was a different kind of shooter, and most people didn’t like it.
We also did Culdcept Saga, no one liked that game. I loved it, it was a fun little game, but it’s cute, more juvenile, not the kind of thing teenagers like.
[Nathan Murray] I’m sure it’s the same thing a lot of people said about Mario Party.
Yeah, and I was surprised that Smash Brothers is as popular as it is. I mean, I have 30 year old guys coming in to play that game at night, and they’re proud of it.
[Nathan Murray] How important are regulars to your business?
You mean people who come back on a regular basis?
[Nathan Murray] Yeah, do you see lots of people doing that?
Yes we do, we’ve got, probably between 10 and 15 who are here about three times a month, about 5 will be here three times in a week, on a fairly regular basis. I think what we need is to have about 50,000 gamers in the Columbus area to know about us, and we’ll be set. We need to get to the critical mass, so the regulars will help build up games. In Vegas, in Casino card rooms, they do what they call putting props in, they pay people to come play poker. Prop up a game, basically. So when newbies like me come in out of town, they call a few of the props over to the table and they’ve got a game. It’s similar. If we have enough people to get a 6 player Call of Duty game going, it’s a lot of fun, but if you come and play by yourself it’s not as much fun. We need to get where we have 15 people in the building all the time it’ll be a lot of fun, because we’ll have people playing Call of Duty or Gears of War, or Halo against each other, and when that happens everyone loves it and there’s a whole lot of excitement that goes on. We just need that on a regular basis. The regular customers ensure there’s someone in the building to play with, and these guys like these games and it helps prop up games.
[Sean Colleli] I think that’s the unique aspect of this business, that maybe at home you could play with 2 or 3 other people on Halo or Call of Duty…
But you’re all on the same screen, or you’re trying to link it all together and you’re playing in some guy’s basement without air conditioning…
[Sean Colleli] But come here and you can get a lot of people together at once.
Yeah, you can play 12 on Halo and 12 on Call of Duty, and during lock-ins that’s one of our most popular things. That’s what they’ll do, they’ll play Halo for 3 hours, then they’ll move to Call of Duty, then go to Guitar Hero or Rock Band, it’s that critical mass of 12 to 15 people in the same building who want to play those games. Regular customers are what makes that happen.
[Sean Colleli] The gameplay and games here are basically free advertising for Microsoft and Nintendo. Have you gotten any endorsements or anything like that?
No, I haven’t pursued it beyond initial inquiry. I went out looking for how you get sponsorship money and advertising. We’re affiliated with iGames which is an organization for places like us. There’s hundreds of them across the country, not exactly like us but combinations of LANs and gaming stations like we have. I would assume that they are working on sponsorships and deals. Actually when there’s a new game launch, like for The Club, they’ll send us free copies and they put up a tournament prize. It’s a form of sponsorship, but it’s unique to a launch. It’s not because I can play Call of Duty in my building, Activision wants to give me money. We’re small potatoes. If we were a chain of 200 of these stores that would be different, but we’re only one store so in the grand scheme of things, we’ll touch probably 200 people who will care in a month, that play that game. I think for right now that’s not very likely. I wish it were [laughs].
[Sean Colleli] Well, thank you very much for taking time to talk with us.
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