If you love gaming and eSports, you will probably agree that gaming or watching a game alone is very different than playing with others. Although there are times when you feel like playing a game or analyzing a replay alone, there are also going to be times when you wish you had people to share your gaming moments with. Some people can easily find other gaming fans, but others need a little push. That’s why when I learned the Philippines’s first-ever eSports bar and video game lounge that is going to open in Pasig, I was very excited! And if you aren’t, perhaps learning more about it will give you reasons to be.
How it all began
According to owner Raphael Gancayo, Imperium eSports bar and Video Game Lounge (or simply ‘Imperium’) was born out of his love and passion for gaming and eSports. He played a lot of League of Legends, DotA, Starcraft 2, and was also a former competitive Call of Duty player. The idea of a barcraft first came to him when he was residing in the US. Simply put, barcraft is basically watching StarCraft matches in a bar. It’s much like a pubstomp in Dota 2 and pubfight in Street Fighter. Unfortunately, the reception at bars was not very good at that time, so he decided to set up his own bar for gaming and eSports. Gancayo flew back to his home country, the Philippines, and started Imperium, but this time with the goal of helping the young Philippine eSports scene grow into something big like Korea.
A bar full of gamers—drink, mingle, and game
Since it’s a bar, of course there will be drinks all around. And there are games, too. Imperium has given us a preview of some of the games it will be offering once it starts operation. And aside from consoles such as Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Xbox One, and Playstation 4, it will also have PC games. Titles such as CoD, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, Fifa, Dota 2, LoL, HoN, and SC2 will all be on hand, just to name a few. According to Gancayo, they’re looking at offering all kinds of games, especially those that appeal to competitive gamers.
Of course this isn’t free. There is a consumable entrance fee of 100 pesos. Computers can be rented for 60 pesos per hour. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are rentable for 100 per hour while the PS4 and the Xbox One are 120 per hour. If you think it’s too expensive compared to the usual 15-to-20-pesos-per-hour rate of regular internet and cafes, I would like to remind you that this is not an internet café.
Since it’s a gaming bar, expect the crowd to be gamers, too. This is one of the things I look forward to. I watched The International 2012 and The International 2013 with just two people. I sincerely loved watching the games with them, but if you’ve experienced watching a game with a crowd like the one at the GMPGL SEA Grand Finals, the roar, the laughs, and the applause is something you will definitely miss. I was also very jealous of people abroad who had pubstomps hosted in their area. Even Malaysia had a mamak stomp for Team Orange. This year, the Philippines has Imperium, and I’ll be damned if I’m not excited for that!
I’ll be flat-out honest that I’ve never been to a bar. Not because I’m anti-social, but because it’s not my thing. But to meet gamers and watch matches with them on a 72-inch projector no less, I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot.
A step to improve Philippine eSports
Aside from providing gamers a chance to meet other players, Imperium also aims to provide an environment for players to test their skill against others on a competitive level. The hope is that Imperium will become the place for competitive gamers, and thus offer a more compelling draw than any random internet cafe could hope to. In theory, you’ll have a better chance of finding a serious team or high-calibre sparring partners to improve your game at Imperium.
This is something that Gancayo made very clear to me during our online conversation. He plans to take steps to help make eSports big. Imperium is his statement to gaming communities that he wants to make a serious slash in the eSports scene not just locally, but also globally. It’s a big dream and I know most people will be skeptical, but I think it’s awesome. Having big dreams is still tons better than having none.
Imperium eSports Bar and Video Game Lounge is set to open on December 12, 2013 so mark that date because they have awesome things planned for it. But if you don’t want to wait, Imperium will be having its soft opening at 5:00 P.M. today (Dec. 5) so if you have time, you can swing by and see what it’s like. It’s located on the second floor of the Metrowalk Commercial Complex in Pasig. For more updates, you can follow Imperium via its official accounts on Facebook and on Twitter.
Photo source: Facebook