Competitive gaming, also known as eSports, is currently a 463 million dollar industry, and is predicted to only get bigger in the future. I sat down with Duncan Morrison to learn about London’s first eSport’s bar, and how it promotes competitive gaming.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, and how Meltdown started?
My name is Duncan, and I am the manager at Meltdown Bar in London. Meltdown originally started in Paris when a group of us were organizing bar crafts; one off events in normal pubs to watch eSports for a weekend. It was always hard to explain to people why this was something to be interested in and we were also competing with regular sports while also having internet problems. Eventually, after a few false starts, we thought it would just be better to just open a full time venue and show eSports all the time.
That was the original Meltdown, really just a shot in the dark, and something we did not know would be sustainable or not.
It ended up going very well, and we expanded to more locations. I was living in Paris at the time, but was ready to move back to the UK and decided to open a bar in London, which ended up being the third Meltdown.
How often does Meltdown hold tournaments, and what have been some of the largest events you have hosted? Are there any prizes for winning?
We hold tournaments every night, some of them have an entry fee and a prize pool. For most of them it is just a couple cocktails, but you gain points throughout the month by competing in the tournaments, and at the end you could end up winning prizes like Logitech keyboards, mice, and headsets. Those are our regular tournaments, on top of that we also host one off events from time to time such as having Fnatic (one of the largest eSports teams) CS:GO or Fnatic Dota playing at the bar against other teams in other countries for thousands of dollars. We also have the Meltdown CityClash, the most recent one will start for Overwatch, where every week we play against another Meltdown Bar for about 7 or 8 weeks. The top teams go to an offline final at one of the bars and play for prize money.
Meltdown has their own eSports team with world class players Neo, Mister Crimson, and Stephano. What roles do the team have at Meltdown besides participating in competitions?
So apart from competing, they act as ambassadors for our brand, so whenever they are competing people will be hearing about us. Someone like Stephano has always been associated with living a certain lifestyle which meshes quite well with what we are doing. He loves to party, goes to the openings, fans still love him, and he is still respected in the StarCraft scene. Having him around just gets people exited.
Since the rise of eSports has been fairly recent there are still a good number of people who are unfamiliar with the competitive aspect of videogames. Do you have any suggestions for our readers who would like to learn more about competitive gaming?
Probably the first thing would be to find out what game you are interested in since there is pretty much something for everyone. The next thing would be to just give it a go playing it. It will probably go pretty badly at first, but that is normal, don’t worry. Then there are loads of great resources since each game has a different platform to find those resources, such as Youtube videos and live streams to watch and learn from the pros. You can read about, watch, or play games, playing probably being the best use of your time to start out with.
University Student studying International Business at Richmond, The American International University in London and Intern at WePlay Digital Sports Agency.