Gaming industry is booming – News-Press Now

Another business geared toward gamers has opened in St. Joseph.

Duo Que is an internet gaming center at 723 Francis St. next to The Duffle Bag Downtown.

Owners Cherith Boger and Joseph Meuginot have been gamers for years.

The two friends have turned their love of gaming into a fun new business. Customers have nearly 50 games at their fingertips once they’ve made an account at Duo Que. But it’s more than just games. Users can set themselves up to watch Netflix, simply surf the Web or they can bring in their own game consoles. And many serious gamers do. The business has gigabit internet, so it allows users to play at faster speeds.

Right now, Duo Que has 18 stations equipped with PC desktops surrounded by techno music and low lighting. While the gaming center looks like a hacker’s paradise in a spy movie, Boger and Meuginot said their space is small compared to other internet gaming centers. Their long-term plan is to have a larger building some day.

There’s no age limit at the gaming center, but the owners warn parents that not all of the games are meant for younger audiences. 

It costs $3 an hour or gamers can get all-day passes for $12 during the week and $15 on weekends. Weekly passes cost $50, and monthly passes are $125.

Duo Que is having a grand opening from at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, and people can have their shot at free gaming from 3 to 5 p.m. that day and on Thursday, Oct. 26.

Duo Que is just another example that the gaming industry is booming.

The lifestyle has even caught the attention of mainstream media outlets like ESPN. The sports network now has a program dedicated to eSports.

Boger said when she first started researching eSports three years ago, there wasn’t a lot to find. Today, it’s a different story entirely.

eSports is competition through electronic systems, particularly video games.

Viewership of eSports has grown 40 percent from 204 million to 292 million between 2014 and 2016, according to BigFishGames.

There are an estimated 1,400 eSport clubs through the United States, including on university campuses.

“I’ve been watching the growth of it,” Boger said. “It seemed St. Joe was a decent size to do it in. It’s definitely a very interesting thing to look in to.”

While eSports are popping up all over the country, the average age of gamers is 35 and the average number of years gamers have been playing is 13.

“We’re gamers ourselves and pay attention to eSports and how it’s growing,” Boger said.

“And we wanted to make a place where all gamers can just come in and play and make new relationships,” Meuginot said. “Actually have a place to go instead of a cold, dreary basement.”

Duo Que is the third business to open in the last six months with a focus on games. All three business were also started by young entrepreneurs.

VR Visions at 3510 Messanie St., in the shopping center on 36th Street, opened in June. It’s teenage owner, Spencer Cathey, got his first personal virtual reality system a year ago. The experience he had with that transitioned into a business plan.

“You totally forget where you are,” Cathey said. “There’s some Army games that I play that you are with a group of people that all really enjoy what they’re doing and everybody gets into it. Some people like to get super military style and other people like to just mess around.”

VR Systems, like many video games, have the capabilities to connect players in St. Joseph to others around the world.

It’s a common myth that gamers lack social skills. Boger and Meuginot feel there are a lot of reasons why people get into games.

“It’s just like watching a movie or reading a book,” Meuginot said. “Some like it for strategy. Some who aren’t good at physical sports have gone to eSports.”

Boger, who is majoring in health and exercise and entrepreneurship and general business at Missouri Western State University, said she is currently into “Heroes of the Storm.” But “Zelda Ocarina of Time” was what got her hooked.

“I was pretty much a gamer after that,” she said.

Games can put people in a different world. Board games and role-playing games can have the same effect.

Nathan Hodges opened End Game, 1301 S. Belt Highway, in August.

Like Duo Que and VR Visions, Hodges’ business is a play space for dozens of games.

Hodges found out there’s a world of board games beyond Monopoly. And there’s a new board game on Kick Starter every day, he said.

There are two areas for customers at End Game. Hodges said during the daytime, his tables remain empty and patrons come to either buy a game or items they will need for upcoming play. But at night, the room fills up.

At one table, a session of “Dungeons and Dragons” is going on with a group of regulars. At the other end of the room sits a larger group spread out on four tables for a game of “Magic the Gathering.” Others sit alone, organizing their cards while smaller groups play other board games. Some tournaments can bring in as many as 120 people.

“There’s a ton of different (role-playing game) systems out there,” Hodges said. “And yeah, they’re welcome to play whatever they want here.”

It’s the same philosophy that has made Club Geek at 815 Francis St., a success for nearly two years. 

The bar offers retro gaming and a self-proclaimed “nerd atmosphere” for those 21 years old and over. Club Geek offers more than 50 beers and dozens of games using a couple of different gaming systems including Nintendo and games like Dr. Mario and Mario Cart.  

Yet there are regulars who use the hot spot as a meeting place to play their role-playing games like Magic: The Gathering. 


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