This is literally my third attempt at drafting a blog today. The first two just didn’t feel right so I crumbled them up and threw them in the round file. Actually, I saved them in a Word document with every intention of revisiting them at a later date even though I know in reality that I will probably never even look at them again; lost on the editing room floor. I don’t know that this topic is going to be much better. But a bad blog is better than no blog. The show must go on.





If you asked me 10 or 15 years ago what I wanted to be or what I what I wanted to do when I grew up, it probably would’ve been related to the video game industry in some capacity or other. I’ve always wanted to be a video game blogger, but I also wanted to own and operate something like an Internet Café, but focused more on video games than drinking overpriced fancy foo foo coffee or tea. I always thought it would be neat to have big tournaments on the weekends and cool to have a crowd of gamers always flocking to the place to socialize and play games.





I wouldn’t necessarily call it an arcade like Dave and Buster’s or that crooked casino for kids ran by that shady rat known as Chuck E. Cheese…no, it would be more like a Starbucks but bigger, packed with humongous flat panel TVs and dozens of the latest consoles and games. A gamers’ hangout if you will, with dozens of current mainstream platforms and a game selection that would make Gamestop blush.





Over the years I have seen a couple places like these and they always have one thing in common…they’re shut down and out of business. I even became friends with this contractor while deployed to Iraq who was in business with this dad. They bought a strip mall, and one of their tenants ran a place like this…through discussions and a shared interest in video games, he told me this place just barely got by. I haven’t talked to this guy in awhile, but in this tough economy, I wouldn’t be surprised even a wee bit if I found out this place was closed down now.





It’s ironic…because I can go to a midnight release at the mall or local Gamestop for a huge title like Halo or Modern Warfare and there will be hundreds of gamers in line waiting. Sometimes the store will have demo machines setup and host tournaments as part of the festivities. It’s always popular. There’s always a crowd. And the people usually amass in a frenzy to compete with complete strangers; often times for nothing more than bragging rights.





So why are places like this not more popular?



I’ve lived in this neck of the woods for 3 years and one time…count them again my friend…one time…has there been an organized tournament of any substance and it was over in Virginia Beach at the convention center.



Now, I can see how it would be difficult to profit off a place like this, especially if it were only centered around video games…but I’ve been in dozens of Starbucks around the world (literally) and there is something they all seem to share…they’re always busy. Obviously they’re making money.





Wondering why there aren’t places like this, clearly the simple dynamic of supply and demand comes into play. If people wanted a place like this, there would be a demand and some wealthy money hungry entrepreneur would build a chain of them to capitalize off this untapped potential and then sell it off to the highest bidder and retire a young man. If such a franchise exists and is popular, I’m not aware of it…and I’ve lived in several different areas over the years.





These places either don’t exist or they shut down over time because clearly it’s not profitable, and it’s not profitable because the demand isn’t there. (For the record, I know they exist at some point in time…but honestly, I have come across at least five of these establishments, perhaps more, and every one of them has been out of business)



Gamers love playing against other players. Multiplayer and online play is a huge percentage of the gaming community. I have also noticed that gamers seem (at least my impression) to enjoy watching and playing against other gamers in an open environment.





I have a fairly robust Best Buy in the area where I live. It has a couple Xbox 360s, Playstation 3s and Wiis set up for people to play on. My son and daughter and I would often visit the store on a Friday night and jam out on Rockband or Guitar Hero for a song or two, even if we had no intention on buying anything. Invariably, we would get some attention from the store employees or customers. Certainly we weren’t drawing a crowd like Nickelback or Lady Gaga, but gamers tend to watch other gamers play. Maybe it’s a competitive thing to see if your skill is better or worse; or maybe it’s just to acknowledge that they belong to the brotherhood of the video game community too.





Why are places like these not successful? I have no idea. No idea at all. Arcades were popular in the 80s and gaming has been on the rise ever since…





Maybe I’m wrong…maybe these places do exist and I’m just destined to live a deprived life in areas that don’t have them.






Maybe gamers really do only enjoy sitting in the safety and comfort of their own home to play against other gamers instead of hanging out with real people where all that social awkwardness comes into play.