Entrepreneurs to launch national game siteWritten by Michael Stainbrook | | email@example.com
Three individuals who specialize in different areas came together and created what none of them could have done alone.
The result is Beyond Gaming, a website designed to give console gamers a new look at online competition. The idea for the site came from Justin Yamek, a local competitive gamer who could not afford to travel to Las Vegas to take part in an invitational tournament. He brought the idea of hosting game play online to his brother-in-law, Tony Legeza.
“The initial idea was kind of born in his head to allow people to challenge each other for stakes-based gaming,” Legeza said. “I took it and wrote a business plan around the model.”
IT specialist Dan Gross then put together a team that designed the website once the plan took shape. Two sizeable grants from the Regional Growth Partnership enabled the project to advance by developing necessary software from August to December 2009. The site, www.beyondgaming.net, is expected to go live at the end of July or early in August.
Beyond Gaming allows adult gamers unlimited online play for money. For a monthly subscription of $7.95, users can access head-to-head, multiplayer and tournament competition with a chance to win prize money in every game.
Players must submit a fee for every event they enter. The entire fee goes to the purse for that event. In tournament play, competitors get their fee back if they win the first round.
“It’s incentivized for the users to participate in the tournaments,” Legeza said.
Users can create their own tournaments or participate in the ones Beyond Gaming organizes. Head-to-head play can occur between any two people. Players can challenge a friend, a stranger or submit an offer to a database and wait for anyone to accept.
The site supports 11 Xbox 360 and nine PlayStation 3 games, as well as a few on Wii, Legeza said. But the website is more than just about gaming. Legeza said he hopes to build an online community through the site for the purpose of bringing gamers together.
“People that still like to game have a whole different realm of people they communicate with in that space,” he said. “It may not be the same circle of friends they have on Facebook. It’s a completely different audience.”
Beyond Gaming has two major competitors: BringIt, based in Chicago, and a Toronto-based site formerly known as World Gaming. Richard Branson of Virgin Group recently bought the latter and changed its name to Virgin Gaming.
Unlike both other sites, Beyond Gaming does not pocket a percentage of event-based fees. It also has developed technology to report game results, whereas BringIt relies on an honor system that has led to numerous complaints.
Legeza and his co-founders decided to use a soft launch approach for the website. They demonstrated their handiwork at the Miller Lite Music Festival June 18 and 19 at Levis Commons. Overall, feedback seemed pretty positive.
“We had Coolio in our tent playing video games for over an hour on Saturday night,” Legeza said. “Toledo ranked it very well. There was a lot of interest and people coming through.”
He hopes the local foothold develops into a stable hub for a national operation.
“Technology and Northwest Ohio: they’re not really synonymous. We think what we’re doing is pretty unique, and I think the community will grab a hold of it.”
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