Dan Artt describes his Gilbert business as “the modern-day arcade.”
Owner of Pure Esports, near Cooper and Baseline roads for a little more than two years, Artt says there is a big different between his arcade and those where skeeball and Pac-Man were the draws.
“When you go to an arcade these days, the kids want to see high-power gaming PCs and the latest and greatest consoles,” he explained. “We offer gaming stations packed with the best technology for gamers and friends alike to come in and enjoy their favorite games together.”
“These are online games so they’re putting up their skills against other skilled players across the globe and with each other,” explained the Gilbert resident.
“It’s not like an arcade machine where you’d have to be there with either your opponent or your buddy who’s playing. You can play with people all over the world, these days, on modern gaming PCs and consoles.”
While average gamers may spend two or three hours at his arcade, some kids show up at 10 a.m. and don’t leave until midnight. For five hours of entertainment, the cost is $22. “I don’t know many places that’ll entertain you for $22 so I say it’s pretty reasonable,” said Artt.
“Our space is kind of like an esports hub for gamers who want to learn. They want to learn from others. They want a chance to use real nice equipment. Maybe they don’t have that equipment at home. Some of this equipment costs thousands of dollars.”
Besides, he noted, gaming at home can be lonely.
“You’re gaming by yourself, in your room, your parents are wondering when you’re going to come up for air. Here at esports, it gives you a chance for more social activity.”
Artt’s business also is about event programming.
“We’re known in Arizona for offering tournaments surrounding a lot of the hottest esports titles so this gives the gamer a chance to size up their skills against their peers and see how well they do,” he said
“Why these games are so competitive is because there’s such a large skill gap between the average player and the professional player. It’s really incredible what can be done if you stick to a game and become an expert at it.”
This was the first year Pure Esports hosted organized youth leagues with coaching, practice days and match days for video gamers.
Pure Esports has over 50 gaming stations but since the pandemic, the business has been running at half capacity.
“What we’re really looking forward to is getting back to our in-person programming,” Artt said. “We’ve put a pin in any in-person events. We don’t feel comfortable luring people to competition until everything is safe. During the pandemic, we’ve just been operating as a public gaming facility continuing our programming online.”
Recently, he partnered with the Arizona State Fair and the Arizona Lottery to provide all-online tournaments to the Arizona community, allowing gamers to perform and compete from their own homes for great prizes.
“The new game culture has really grown into something very competitive and something worthwhile watching just like any other sport,” Artt added.
“Gamers watch other competitors or gamers on a platform called Twitch,” he said. “They either learn something or they’re entertained because maybe the specific streamer or the person playing this game on the internet is entertaining to watch.”
A stream station is hooked up at Pure Esports with all of the cameras, lights and green screens, allowing the arcade to broadcast programming and provide a spot for gamers to stream to audiences.
Pure Esports also provides a repair service.
“If you have something wrong with your console, instead of throwing it away and buying a new one for hundreds of dollars, we repair those things,” Artt said.
After attending elementary school in Gilbert and then graduating from Arizona State University, Artt went straight into corporate sales and operations for 10 years.
When he hit his 30’s, he decided, “I wanted to have a career or build something I enjoyed so it didn’t feel like work, something I’m passionate about.”
He’s found it with serving gamers.
“The thing with competitive video gaming is it’s truly an intellectual activity, an intellectual competitive sport. I can argue that because the amount of decisions these kids are making per second is absolutely amazing. It’s phenomenal. It’s uncanny. These guys are wizards.
“The hand/eye coordination, the decision making, the strategy and tactic that’s all swirling in their mind within seconds is absolutely incredible to see and watch.”
Information: pureesportsaz.com or 480-369-6730