Starting and Running a Video Game Center Lounge: Do I need Cafe Software and How Do I get Tournaments Going?

From today’s show we covered the following topics:

  1. Introduction to the weekly Twitch-cast
  2. LAN Center start-up “Question of the Week”
    1. “How important is software for a LAN Center?”
    2. How important is software in other businesses?  Stock Control?  Sales projections?  Employee management?
    3. Software is crucial for controlling PC access, but also for saving $$$ in game purchases
    4. Even as a timer, software helps track time balances as well as cash balances
    5. Credit on store accounts is CRUCIAL
    6. Useful data such as games reaching license limit, times of the day/week when it is slowest, etc.
    7. Using the right software, eBash has set-up a 100+ network of systems in two days, had 5,000+ gamers create accounts and play by the hour and tracked stats and given away random prizes, sent out a follow-up email to the group
  3. LAN Center growth “Idea of the Week”
    1. “How do I get tournaments going at my center?”
    2. Tournament Negatives:
      1. Nothing worse than spending tons of time, money, energy promoting an event to only have a couple people show up
      2. Displaces regular customers during busiest times
      3. Extra Work, Extra Cost, Extra Systems
    3. Tournament Positives:
      1. Great way to reach new players
      2. Gives your center the sense of importance, coolness
      3. Always want to have something going on, events
    4. Types of Tournaments:
      1. Big Cash Money
      2. Random/Scrambled
      3. Money vs. Prizes vs. Fame (Call of Duty players asked about trophies)
      4. Not always PvP, sometimes PvE
      5. Find a way to create rivalries with schools, clans, etc.
    5. Promotion = success
      1. “Impromptu” tournaments have a place, but not a good idea for long term
      2. Start it a month away or more
      3. Fliers:  Colleges, High Schools, Local Game Stores
    6. Results
      1. Ladders, leaderboards, presetige
      2. Photos and social media
  4. ggCircuit PULSE:
    1. Halo API notes
    2. Skin Release Schedule
    3. Tournament system Updates
      1. Brackets can be for just Players  now, not just teams
      2. Admin can automatically add players
      3. Types:  PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Wii U
    4. Extra Life
    5. WANdemonium
  5. ggCircuit “Tip of the Week”
    1. Winter Season Details
  6. ggCircuit Center Spotlight – Escape Gaming
  7. Welcome to new ggCircuit centers
    1. FunFirst Gaming – Czech
  8. Ending – ggCircuit now over 70,000 gamers

6 thoughts on “Starting and Running a Video Game Center Lounge: Do I need Cafe Software and How Do I get Tournaments Going?

  1. Hi! I’ve been following you for quite some time and I’m on the process of opening my own LAN center in Mexico, but there’s something that still confuses me, how to handle Licensing for PC Games. Now that Valve Cyber Cafe is down, I haven’t found any other options that allow me to offer games to my costumers that are not F2P. I would really appreciate any advice on the matter, thanks a lot!!!

  2. Hey! Great question and one that I get a lot. Currently there is not an easy way to become “licensed” to run games at a center but there is also very little push back from publishers to get licensed. Because they do not have a program in place, they tend to just make sure that stores are not pirating copies of the game and not selling merchandise or profiting from the use of their trademarks and images. I cannot advise you one-way-or-another, but at eBash we are happy to welcome any publisher calling us so that we can talk to them more about all of the great things we are doing to promote their game! 🙂

    • And, from your experience, is it profitable to open a Center just with the free games? Because I’ve tried to contact Blizzard and Steam, and the only answer they gave me was to encourage customers to buy the games for themselves, and maybe use Family Sharing in the case of Steam.

      • You don’t have to just use free games. We still run a lot of games we buy on Steam for the players to use. The software we run shares the game licenses between the systems so you can own 8 copies of Rocket League on 60 PCs and our software launches the games anywhere until the 8 copies are in simultaneous use. Then when someone logs out, another person can launch the game.

  3. Hi there – thanks for the informative videos on starting up a LAN center – i have a few questions though, most of the content i see are old, are you still operating a LAN canter? Also i noticed that every time i do a google search on a LAN center it is either closed, or articles pop up older than 2-5 years – nothing recent. I am thinking of opening one up here in Canada (not a big one, starting small with 20 pc’s, 10 xboxs, and 6 Nintendo) but almost back out every time is see all these LAN centers having a life span of 1-3 years top. I know that LAN centers are making a comeback, so do you think its wise for me to open one up here (currently there are no LAN centers in my area, closest one in 45 mins away)?

    • Yes, still going strong and doing most of our updates now on this video series:

      We are in the process of updating my blog here as well and I will begin posting regular weekly articles all about starting a LAN center.

      A LOT of them are starting now and everything is starting to look much better for the longevity of centers because my software company ( and are able to get special deals with publishers for gamers at our stores.

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