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Source Gaming provides a new home for passionate gamers

Source Gaming provides a new home for passionate gamers

Electronic Technician David Eller focused on his opponent in Street Fighter V. Travis McCallum

Source Gaming provides a new home for passionate gamers
January 24
12:10 2017

Travis McCallum | Staff Writer

Fervor washes over the fingers of gamers pushing desperately to claim the victory prize. The crowd stares in awe, commenting on bold plays the fierce competitors make on the big screen. A charismatic announcer echoes each compounding action until “thud!” The audience lets out a deafening cry in the viewing room at Denton’s newest e-sports lounge, Source Gaming.

Robert McAshan opened doors to his new business on Jan. 5. Source sets the precedent for a new wave of consumers to engage in video games, or what he calls “a community for gaming.”

As a small town with over 100,000 people and a concentrated culture point for diversity with two universities, many gamers in Denton were hoping for a space dedicated to gaming. McAshan hopes his niche will build a community for demanding gamers in town.

“Denton can be a fickle mistress,” he said.

McAshan never imagined he would be the owner of a video game lounge. McAshan jokes he was a career college student in school for 12 years since 2003. He graduated with a BA in general studies from Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, then completed a BS degree in mechanical engineering and technology at UNT and finished with a masters degree in 2014.  Throughout his full-time college career, McAshan worked for 10 years at Daniel Measurement & Control, an oil and gas company in Houston.

After graduating from school, McAshan knew he didn’t want to work in the oil and gas industry forever, so he left to take a yearlong vacation to find the right job for him. Not getting hired, he eventually created his own job as owner of Source Gaming.

McAshan said Source Gaming sets itself apart from companies in the past because it doesn’t nickel and dime customers to play video games, and they are free to experiment with virtual reality technology or attend tournaments. Members are able to play their own games or the many free-to-play titles offered, including League of Legends and Final Fantasy XV. The goal is to fill all the machines while keeping the prices low.

Source is meant to operate as a third home or space for high school and college students. Parents are also an ideal consumer with an option for parental controls when they bring their children.

An entire room is available with two HTC Vive headsets for maximum exposure to virtual reality.  McAshan jokes at the intense battleship games players simulate. There’s even a Playstation VR headset for people who prefer console play sitting down.

“When we went off to the E3 [gaming convention], the two biggest buzz words were e-sports and VR,” Marketing Director Warren Lee said.

Different events allow Source to collaborate with organizations like TESPA UNT, an e-sports organization. An ongoing program called the Red Line Series features weekly tournaments like SMASH 4 where players will have the opportunity to compete for prize money in their favorite video games.  Talks are in the way to include local businesses, like More Fun Comics.

Source Gaming is spacious with over 16 computers for players to use. Travis McCallum

Revenue is expected to come from two different mediums. One method will be from concessions provided when customers come for the watch parties and big events, while the other method will be from an unlimited monthly gaming pass of $35 for students and military personnel and $45 for the general public.

“There’s a different energy that comes from playing games with people in the same room,” Lee said.

Lee said that Source provides something the internet can’t replicate. People come to Source for the same reason they go to conventions— an experience for the community. People are also able to have access to a facility where they can consistently hone their skills with enhanced equipment.

Derek Hanson, a computer science senior at Texas State University and part-time Source employee, said he likes how there are plenty of high-end PCs to play because not many other places are well priced.  Competitor gaming lounge ShadowLAN in Richardson offers a $30-day pass, triple the amount Source Gaming is charging.

“There’s so much room for so many people,” Hanson said. “It feels very spacious and comfortable.”

A big challenge for McAshan is getting the word out that Source Gaming exists.  The e-sports industry is in a volatile position where businesses fail more often than they succeed. Two years ago, Epic! Gaming Lounge in Frisco closed after a scandal involving stolen sponsorship money. McAshan’s hope is that his transparent actions in pricing, event management and commitment to the community will make Source Gaming a credible and enjoyable staple in Denton.

McAshan plans to upgrade the facility expanding new game stations so more people can play at a time. Currently, there are 18 available PCs, and 24 are needed, with 30 being the ideal number to maximize gaming tournaments.  It continues to expand the game library and console lineup including the new upcoming Nintendo Switch.

“We want to operate it as a third home space,” Lee said.

Featured Image: Electronic Technician David Eller focused on his opponent in Street Fighter V. Travis McCallum

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Travis McCallum

Travis McCallum

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