If you thought gaming was the pursuit of geeky teenagers in dark and dingy bedrooms – think again!
A new venue in East London is drastically changing perceptions; offering a place to play video games that’s light, open, focused on food and drink and designed for social interaction.
Platform was set up in Shoreditch six months ago by brothers Tomaso and Niccolò Portunato, Lucas Weintraub, Jo Highfield, and Guilllame Borkhataria. The friends have all have been playing video games since they were old enough to hold a gamepad.
Guillaume said: “All too often gaming venues offer dark, neon-lit cubicles for gamers wearing headsets and only for people who really identify themselves as gamers! But video games have been a touchpoint in most people’s lives to varying degrees, so we wanted to create something very different; that appeals to everyone and is a place to socialise and enjoy playing games with friends.
“Even though gaming has grown into a billion-dollar industry, there has been a real void of places to service it. Just like you’d go to the cinema to watch a movie or you’d watch music at a performance venue -there hasn’t been an equivalent for gaming.”
Platform has been designed as a sociable space – gaming booths have stepped couches so friends can pile in and play, individual gaming spaces have a mesh so players can see in and out and the venue, which has a large dining area, does a roaring trade in pizzas (courtesy of Happy Face Pizza) and drinks.
Whether you’re up for some classic party games like Mario Kart, Mario Party or Streetfighter, fancy a go at something more in-vouge like Fortnite, League of Legends, or Apex Legends, want to battle it out in Counter Strike on the esports stage or are up for a go in a racing simulator, Platform has games to suit all tastes and abilities. “We have all the best multiplayer titles, and we can make great recommendations for any group makeup ”, added Guillaume.
He said: “We have a surprising number of couples coming here on date nights and playing on retro consoles’ games like these are pretty accessible and there’s no risk of feeling silly if you haven’t played before. They’re usually simpler games that don’t require such attention – you can put the controller down while you have a chat without ruining the game!”
In recent years there has been a huge surge in esports – professional gamers can earn millions of pounds playing competitive games – some even have health coaches and sponsorship deals! Platform broadcasts big esports tournaments live so gamers can enjoy some food and drink while watching a big game.
(Platform in Shoreditch)
The venue also offers bottomless brunches with two hours of gaming, pizza and unlimited beer and prosecco from 12pm till 4pm at weekends
Platform is supported by Nintendo who provided hardware and software to the venue and is closely partnered with one of the world’s largest esports organisation, ESL. The business hopes to expand with new branches in other UK cities.
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