GOMAZ and Pedro are the gamer tags, or names, that Tom Cupitt and Josh Freinberger respectively created for themselves when they “fought” as teens on electronic game like Streetfighter or Super Smash Bros.
Fast forward a decade and the Warners Bay High graduates and mates have launched Gomaz Vs Pedro, an e-sports centre they hope to roll out nationally.
“This is the blueprint for the next generation of entertainment, and it’s the first of its kind in the world,” says Mr Cupitt.
Sure, the centre can function as an internet cafe: it is equipped with fibre-to-business internet and computers and is located near the Tighes Hill TAFE campus on Maitland Road.
But it is also primed to host tournaments, where live games of Streetfighter, Tekken, Pokken and Smash Bros are streamed to participants on site and on Twitch, the world’s biggest platform for video platform and community for gamers, creating advertising revenue in the process. [If you are not au fait with the niche gamer market, consider that in US tournaments can fill stadiums, and the prize money for a teen can hit seven figures.]
“Long-term once we know how this centre operates we’d like to open one in every capital city and create a gaming circuit where the best of the best compete,” says Mr Cupitt.
“We want to build it to the point that you can watch a tournament in the same way you can watch a professional sport.”
In their teens, Mr Cupitt and Mr Freinberger, now both 26, used to hang out for hours on end playing their Nintendos: “Josh was always working and we’d catch up and play, because you chat as you play,” says Mr Cupitt.
The pair’s business idea grew up Mr Cupitt ran a few game tournaments out the back of his first business, Cardiff Golf Driving Range, with Mr Freinberger running the show so his friend could compete.
“I really enjoyed it and the community grew so much and it got too big to hold it where we did, and we didn’t have the internet connection to run more games,” he said.
At its Tighes Hill location, which began running tournaments this month, the business acts as an internet cafe and game centre, with 24 PCs, 8 Nintendos and four play stations.
Charging users by the hour, the business also does computer repairs and PC and console updates – it can download large files quickly compared to the multiple hours it would take to download at home.
Keen to dispel the “nasty stereotypes” of gamers being nerds, Mr Cupitt say the pair “want to channel the sporty and social side” of gaming.
See Facebook or gomazvspedro.com.au.