Glen Cove man launches eSports biz
The world of competitive gaming has blossomed over the course of this century and Waypoint Gaming, a local-area network (LAN) gaming center with a founder that hails from Glen Cove, wants to give gamers a hub to train for their matches or fans a place to watch events.
“I found a real void in the fact that you could go down to Buffalo Wild Wings or a local bar to catch a football game, but there was no place for people to come together and watch eSports,” said co-founder and CEO Cristian Arevalo of Glen Cove.
The idea behind Waypoint Gaming was developed in 2015, but it took until April of this year for the business to open up its doors at 1100B Stewart Ave. in Garden City.
One of the main reasons for this was how new of a concept it was. Investors didn’t want to take the risk in funding the company.
“I would go to eSports conferences out in California every September and I still go to this day to meet members of the industry that helped me get a lot of insight,” Arevalo recalled.
Waypoint provides casual and professional players a place where they can develop their skills on high-tech computers and consoles, including a virtual reality station, that patrons may not have at home.
They have many of the major titles in eSports right now, from Overwatch to League of Legends.
“Long Island is a massive eSports hub,” Arevalo pointed out. “You have some of the greatest fighting communities in the Northeast here. You have some of the best talent in various titles coming from the Northeast, but they don’t have an actual venue where they can go to on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and prove that they are the best. There has been a lack of location for people to come and promote themselves.”
Waypoint keeps a calendar on its website for people to see when the best time is to come down and play certain games, which was figured out based on what games its customers were frequently playing on a particular day of the week. Fridays, for example, are “Friday Night Fights” for those who want to play fighting games.
“Every Friday night, we had 20-30 kids come down and they are playing Tekken and Street Fighter,” said Arevalo. “They are competing and training for tournaments that are coming up.”
One of the biggest tournaments the company is hosting is the “Way To The Summit” Tekken 7 circuit. Waypoint will host four six-week stages that will have players earning circuit points. The person with the most circuit points at the end of each stage, plus additional winners of tournaments in other locations, will be invited to a massive tournament.
In terms of its first few months of business, Arevalo says that they have quickly grown their community around Long Island.
“We have regulars that come in that we all know by first name,” Arevalo said. “They come to spend their nights here because it’s a social life for them. It’s a place where they can come out and meet like-minded individuals in an environment where they don’t feel like they are going to be judged.”
Arevalo wants to see the center become a franchise but is also considering having one massive venue in the Northeast for people to attend. For now, it will continue hosting weekly tournaments while also working with local high schools and professional organizations in hosting their own tournaments.
It is currently working with the Long Island Nets in hosting a high school Overwatch invitational and hosted a charity tournament with the Overwatch League’s New York Excelsior, raising money for Digital Girl Inc.
“We’ve created such a repertoire of doing these major events that companies are coming to us to [organize tournaments],” Arevalo said. “So now our ambitions are how do we flip that back to the community. It’s great that we’re getting the attention, but the ambition of Waypoint Gaming was always to give a platform for the best talent to showcase their skills.”