Gaming services company Multiplay – which hosts the Insomnia gaming events – is enjoying growth since the GAME deal.
When asked what’s changed since Multiplay was acquired by GAME last year, Multiplay founder and CEO Craig Fletcher told PCR: "One of the biggest changes is growth. We’ve more than doubled our turnover, we’ve doubled our staff. When you get acquired, one of the things you worry about is, is the bride you walk down the aisle with the one you come back with? And it’s been absolutely brilliant.
"GAME have done everything they said they would do and have given us all the support they said they’d give us.
"I talk about putting reigns on a rocket and that’s what they’re doing. They didn’t buy us to leave us ticking along. They said: ‘Right guys. Here are resources – go for it.’
"We’ve gone for it. So it’s been great. We’ve grown massively. The events are still continuing to grow 60 per cent year-on-year. This show last year was probably half the size of this one. So if we carry on at that rate, it’s going to be pretty huge."
Multiplay’s Insomnia events have grown since being acquired by GAME. They are now based at the Birmingham NEC, having moved away from Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
From August 26th, Insomnia58 (i58) will have a bring-your-own-computer LAN gaming area as usual, as well as GAMEfest, a bigger expo featuring the latest games and exhibitor stands.
Fletcher added: "You can sum up Insomnia in three words: Glastonbury of gaming. It’s a celebration of all things games – a festival that runs 24/7 for four days. People come from all over the world to share a passion for gaming.
"It’s a place where people who love games belong; you have everything from the enthusiasts who bring their PCs on cars, trains and planes in to play on them 24/7for four days, you have people getting dressed up as their favourite game characters, playing board games, card games, seeing the expo…
"The great thing is you’ve got mum’s and dads in one hall then hardcore gamers in the other."
At i57 a few weeks ago, Bethesda sponsored the evening pub quiz, giving away Fallout-branded beer bottles.
When asked about sponsors getting the balance right between being creative and focusing solely on ROI, Fletcher replied: "What better way to get people to love your brand than to buy them a drink or a free gift. Most people love free stuff, but gamers do in particular. When we were giving away free stuff on the stage, they shout for the empty box that’s had the free stuff in. ‘Box, box box!’ They love it, they get involved.
"The key thing people have mistaken over the years is they try to engage with eSports but not be authentic. Gamers are intelligent people, they see straight through it. You’ve got to be authentic, you’ve got to do something that adds value to their experience.
"Don’t just brand-stamp or spend a load of money and expect it to work. Engage. eSports ultimately is two words: community engagement.
"And you’ve got to understand that if you’re going to succeed in it."