PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ryan Senecal is creating a haven for those who want to show off their video game skills — and cheer on the efforts of others.
“I kind of want people to think of it like a sports bar for esports,” Senecal said. “Which are a real thing, I promise.”
Boosted Lounge held its grand opening Friday night in the Allendale Shopping Center with 36 computer stations for gaming and more.
The lounge’s mission is to establish, grow, and foster a community of passionate gamers in an environment built from the ground up for them.
Popular names such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Apex Legends are among the many games that can be played at the lounge.
Virtual reality games will soon be available as well, including the Dance Dance Revolution of the new era: Beat Saber.
Boosted Lounge is also for those who admire esports, as patrons will be greeted by a seating area with two screens so that people can cheer on their favorite gamers as they would with football players.
“It’s about people coming together to watch esports, there are leagues going on all of the time, support their favorite teams, and stuff like that,” Senecal explained. “And additionally, just to play games, and socialize around that, we want to build some leagues to do that kind of stuff but it’s really about building a community of gamers in Berkshire County and seeing where that goes.”
The gamer entrepreneur and North Adams native has been dreaming of such a venture since he was young. This project’s been in the works for about two years until he was in a position to make his business idea a reality.
The space formerly housed Hair Express salon and day spa.
With advances in technology that allow players to connect through games similar to how they would on social media platforms, esports participation has skyrocketed.
According to Statista.com, the number of esports enthusiasts and occasional viewers was just under 400 million in 2019 and, by 2024, is expected be more than 570 million viewers worldwide.
The most popular game in the market, League of Legends, had between two and three million players a day in February, according to Techacake.com.
Senecal said he would like to focus on a more collaborative type of competition at the lounge, utilizing leagues generated by the games so that players are facing off with others on the same skill level.
“We would have teams of five going up against other teams of five, but through the matchmaking systems within the game, so you’re facing people your own skill level,” he said. “And that’s kind of how we’re going to design a lot of our leagues so you are and are not competing against each other.”
Though, he added that people are free to compete with each other if they want.
Senecal reported that Boosted’s Discord group, an app often used by gamers to communicate in real-time, has more than 100 members and various channels for different purposes.
“It’s unique for a business, I don’t know how many businesses have Discord where they can communicate with their customers at home,” he said, adding that there are several people on the Discord who stream.
All esports are on Twitch, a streaming platform for gamers. One of the televisions in the lounge will be dedicated to local streaming talent to promote them.
“We are really pushing the Discord because it’s like the heart of our community,” Senecal said.
“We will be doing what’s called Discord Night once a month, and if you’re a member of our Discord, then you’re invited to Discord Night and you can come in and play games all night for free.”
To help with costs, he is leasing processing power for cryptocurrency mining while the lounge is closed. Mining uses the computers’ processing remotely when business isn’t being conducted.
Boosted Lounge is open from noon to 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, noon to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 11 to 11 on Sundays.
There will be flat rate for hours before 5 p.m. on weekdays and 7 p.m. on weekends that is geared toward all ages though anyone under age 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
Senecal said the lounge will cater to more of an adult crowd and that he is eventually looking to get a beer and wine license.
For pricing, additional information, or to join Boosted Lounge’s Discord visit boostedlounge.com.