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Australia’s first eSports bar is GGEZ full name as Good Game Easy bar founded by Lachlan McAllister and Jamie Skella in Melbourne.
What sets this bar apart from other bars like Beta Bar and Spawn Point or Bartronica in Melbourne is that it not only incorporate just a touch of gaming, rather than making it part of the aesthetic, not a place you go to play games but watch as a spectator like any good sports bar, with lots of screens for patrons to watch sports.
Skella, one of GGEZ’s founders and a veteran of local esports was one of the original members of Pantheon Esports, as well as being the coder for one of the most prominent hubs for Australian esports in the early 2000’s – explained that they wanted to appeal to gamers, instead of trading on the subculture as a drawcard. He believes that gamers are everywhere these days, but not everybody identifies as a gamer, even if they’re regular gamers. It’s easy to forget, especially if you play games or work in gaming every day, how much that perception persists.
There’s also the practical issues around playing games at a public venue. There’s cords like fans spilling drinks but here one can sit comfortably around a monitor and watching live games.
Things have certainly changed in a couple of years. Just in the last six months alone, esports has massively expanded onto traditional broadcast TV. Channel Seven unveiled ScreenPLAY and announced that it would be running a league of its own. There’s the recently announced Gfinity city-based franchise league and then there’s the reality show for League of Legends.
Esports is much, much larger than the days when a top of the line PC was an Athlon 64, or when the hottest numbers was the viewer count in a HLTV server. But for all the exponential growth, watching esports can still be a bit difficult and it’ll be a primary challenge for a bar that relies on broadcasting nothing but esports. Some of that will be tournaments from local events, like League’s OPL or a Rocket Leaguequalifier and some of it will be international, given that GGEZ’s license allows them to remain open until 5:00 AM.
— Hanabee (@HanabeeOfficial) August 29, 2017
While GGEZ isn’t that different from a normal sports bar, one teething issue will be the increased amount of tech. It’s something anyone who attended a BarCraft or a viewing party for League or Dota 2 knows all too well: reliable internet. A high bandwidth internet connection isn’t something bars would prioritise over, say, good whiskey or locally sourced gin with good food is what players also want to have first. That’s just one of the unique challenges GGEZ will have, not just being Australia’s first esports bar, but a bar that uses the internet so heavily for entertainment.
GGEZ, the first eSports bar in Australia, has got its name and fame; as there aren’t rival establishments vying for the same kinds of partnerships available to GGEZ. Partnerships and collaborations with conventions and organisations;don’t guarantee success, of course, and it’s no replacement for steady, regular punters in the door every week.
The bar mentions that they’ve had chats with the Adelaide Crows which recently bought a local esports team for upcoming events and conventions wanting to partner or use the bar as a venue and also publishers are keen to get involved while the local industry is excited.
One of the unavoidable hurdles for GGEZ is that some esports – even the most popular ones – aren’t easy to watch. Like Overwatch has trouble because it’s incredibly complex, in terms of visually what’s happening during a set of fights, obviously the MOBAs are also quite hard to follow for new people. You’ve got games like Street Fighter, games like Counter-Strike, these are much simpler to get a quick appreciation for is what quotes the bar management.
You can visit the GGEZ Bar, at 93-95 Queen St, Melbourne Victoria- 3000. The bar is opened from Monday 5Pm to late till Sunday except closed on Tuesdays.
You can also call the bar at phone 0439 968 708 or email them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
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