GAME opens 7 new 'Belong' stores with competitive gaming zones inspired by Multiplay Insomnia

UK retail chain GAME has taken another step towards esports with a new chain of ‘Belong’ competitive gaming stores.
It has opened seven ‘Belong’ shops so far, with more to follow over the coming months. Each will have a dedicated gaming area with up to 25 ‘high specification’ PC gaming rigs for customers to compete with one another.
GAME said in a statement: “Space in the gaming zones is available to book in advance, as well as allowing gamers to drop in and play instantly.”
There will also be consoles installed in each store, with games of the moment to play. GAME says these will be constantly reviewed based on the level of local community engagement.
It’s GAME’s latest move in the growing esports space. Last year it bought Multiplay, host of the popular Insomnia LAN and gaming exhibitions, and partnered with Overclockers to sell high-end PC gaming systems in select stores.
Multiplay founder Craig “Wizzo” Fletcher gave a video tour of the flagship ‘Belong’ store on Twitter earliere today – GAME Wardour Street located in London’s Soho.

Passers by can even play games on the shop’s window outside:

Wizzo also mentioned “the first tribe – the London Lionhearts” – hinting that there will be some kind of team-based competitions held in the stores.
Wizzo showed off several playing areas – including Xbox, Minecraft, Call of Duty and Rocket League systems.
There’s also a viewing area, where visitors spectated a game of Street Fighter. And at the back of the basement, there’s a PlayStation VR zone. There are also drinks and refreshments available.
GAME said in a statement that ‘Belong’ is ‘a celebration of gaming experiences where competition reigns, friendships are born, deep gaming rivalries are forged and communities of gamers built’.
“Alongside casual gaming and virtual reality booths, BELONG provides professional quality gaming facilities for the UK’s three million esports enthusiasts to gather and play competitively.”

“Our ambition has been to bring some of the best elements of Multiplay’s Insomnia festival, where competition reigns across multiple games into our stores.”
Martyn Gibbs, GAME

It aims to allow gamers to play with friends, compete in tournaments, take part in gaming nights, celebrate new games and technology launches, and share other events and experiences.
GAME’s ‘Belong’ zones can be found at Wardour Street, the Intu shopping centre, Milton Keynes and at existing GAME stores in Bristol Cribb’s Causeway, Hull Prospect Centre, Portsmouth, Gateshead Metrocentre and Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
Martyn Gibbs, CEO of GAME Digital plc, said: “Our ambition has been to bring some of the best elements of Multiplay’s Insomnia festival, where competition reigns across multiple games into our stores.
“From the four Belong zones that have launched since July we have amassed thousands of hours of gameplay with 20% of players being new to GAME.
“Our GAME community and BELONG is now at the heart of this strategy as we seek to combine multichannel retail, events and esports.”

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