Kyoto Lounge is an innovative concept and, at the time of launch, is believed to be unique to Manchester.
There is not believed to be another venue in the country which offers customers the opportunity to socialise, drink, eat and play in a dedicated gaming environment.
The brains behind the concept are Salford University graduates Arjang Salehi (29) and Fardad Izadi (23). They identified a gap in the entertainment market for a social venue of this kind based on their own social experiences.
Says Fardad, “As students, we would often get all our friends together and game but there was a shortage of facilities that could cater for this requirement and there still is; even now, years later as young professionals, we struggle to find a place where we can all get together to game".
“Computer games don’t only appeal to dedicated gamers, most people have some level of interest in playing them. To encourage them to have a go you have to offer more than just games, you have to create a social environment they want to be in.”
After staging face-to-face research with Manchester’s student population, their core audience, and researching the social gaming offering in the UK and abroad, Salehi and Izadi developed the Kyoto Lounge business model and successfully secured external funding to supplement their own cash investment. A hardware and support sponsorship deal has also been negotiated with Bolton based performance computer manufacturer Scan Computers International Ltd.
The unique concept has caught the imagination of HMV and they went into a partnership providing various mutual benefits for each other.
Kyoto Lounge is now partnered with the world's 2nd largest games retailer GAME PLC.
Kyoto Lounge has benefitted from a £160,000 contemporary fit out and is loaded with 46” HD LCD TV’s located in a central lounge offering the latest in PC based gaming entertainment, Scan 3xs systems with gaming orientated mice and keyboards in a dedicated gaming room, an 90” HD projector, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the recently released 3D vision NVIDIA Gaming Systems.
As well as hosting LAN tournaments, game launches and competitions, Kyoto Lounge will go head to head with the city’s other licensed venues by offering live screenings of Sky Sports HD, including coverage of the World Cup which will be broadcast alongside football themed gaming tournaments.
Whilst it’s anticipated the majority of their clientele will be keen gamers, casual and non-gamers are welcome as the computers can be used for work or social Internet browsing. The bar will also be available for hire by companies, universities and individuals staging training, launches or social events.
“The layout and style of the bar encourages a relaxed social environment and with screen sports, music, food and a well stocked bar we can truly offer something for everyone; whether they are keen gamers or just on the lookout for a good night out,” says Arjang.
The video and computer gaming industry has expanded rapidly over the last decade. In 2003, music and video sales were double those of computer games; by 2008, the gaming industry had increased in value by 113% to £2.7bn.
The UK gaming market is the largest in Europe and the fourth largest producer in the world behind the US, Japan and Canada, employing 21,000 people and with £370m invested in games creation each year.