Today we talk to Wesley Upchurch of Gunther’s Games about LAN gaming centers. Wesley Upchurch is excited about this new technology.
Information Nation: I’m sure you had plenty of options to consider when you were initially setting up Gunther’s Games.
Wesley Upchurch: Yes, we had several game plans to choose from. It was the idea of a LAN gaming center that really spiked my curiosity, though.
Information Nation: At this point we’re wondering what a LAN gaming center is.
Wesley Upchurch: LAN connections mean that gamers have the option of getting in on multiplayer games. Most have all the newer home video gaming systems and titles.
Information Nation: What kinds of home systems?
Wesley Upchurch: Playstation 2, Xbox 360, even Wii systems are popular. They can be set up with anywhere from 8 to 400 players.
Information Nation: That connection could even bring in players from other towns or countries, right?
Wesley Upchurch: Yes, we’d love to be able to have that sort of capacity. It’s something for us to shoot for.
Information Nation: Where did LAN gaming centers start?
Wesley Upchurch: They got their start at Eastern Michigan University, at a place called Savage Gecko.
Information Nation: How long ago was that?
Wesley Upchurch: I think it was about 2006 or so. Kids were playing students from other colleges; they set up the first intercollegiate LAN tournament that way.
Information Nation: All with newer games, correct?
Wesley Upchurch: Yes, definitely. Call of Duty and Modern Warfare 3 are the most popular games, overall.
Information Nation: Why is that?
Wesley Upchurch: The playing field of those games is perfect for multiplayer engagement, really.
Information Nation: What about LAN gaming centers in other countries?
Wesley Upchurch: They love the LAN concept in Korea. They have centers they call “PC bangs,” for school-age kids to play with other kids.
Information Nation: That sounds like a pretty fun time.
Wesley Upchurch: Yes, they make them really fun and inviting. “PC bangs” centers usually sell soft drinks, noodles and other snacks for kids that are playing there.
Information Nation: Has the economy hurt your prospects?
Wesley Upchurch: I’d have to say I’ve really seen a lot of businesses take a hit. Gas prices and food prices are still high, but I think there may be an upside to that for us.
Information Nation: How do you figure?
Wesley Upchurch: If gas is high, people are likely to come here for fun, in a safe, inexpensive setting. We expect to just charge a flat hourly rate for gamers, and offer “buddy passes” for two players.
Information Nation: What are your rules?
Wesley Upchurch: Common sense, really. No screaming, no obnoxious behavior, no downloading anything, keep your game volume down, and ask permission before you come into a game. And if you’re not playing, you can’t stay. Other than that – just have fun!