Paul Cramer and sons front to back Patrick, Timothy, and Flynn are banding together on a new business.
They launched QU3UE on Kickstarter today with the vision of creating a 10,000 square foot esports center in Minnesota where online gamers can compete locally, socialize with peers, and get recognized.
With the all or nothing goal of $125k in crowdfunding by November 28th, QU3UE plans to open in February of 2019 along the 494/100 corridor:
“QU3UE is embarking on the next phase of eSports, bringing the thrill of national tournaments to the local level! QU3UE is a new way to experience competitive gaming. QU3UE is building an eSports infrastructure and state of the art facilities that will allow teams and individuals to compete locally, regionally, and ultimately nationally. Our initial goal is to develop a QU3UE facility in Minneapolis, MN by the end of 2018 with a plan to roll-out multiple locations nationwide. QU3UE is a membership driven organization. Each member will have the opportunity to join a team, practice and compete against other teams, and ultimately show off their skills in regularly scheduled tournaments.”
If successful, QU3UE would be the largest player in the space locally, as Left Click Lounge in Dinktown also offers a social gaming experience in a more traditional LAN environment.
They’re both tapping into an interesting trend where technology is actually bringing people together a physical environment around an entertainment experience. Parallel examples include Voxel VRP, Rem5 VR, and The Void – all new businesses in Minnesota bringing virtual reality to a bigger and broader consumer audience through brick and mortar.
eSports is a booming business that taps into the competitive side of video gaming, from 1:1 to the massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). Once considered all-for-naught by mom and dad, gaming as a career is a thing now, full of celebrity level social status – and incomes.
Newzoo predicts that the global eSports industry will reach $905 million this year, a 38% increase from 2017’s $655 million, and is predicted to be $1.65 billion by 2021. Revenue comes primary from advertising and sponsorship, though people are paying for tickets and merchandise just like traditional sports. Media rights and publishing are also a big B2B business at the core:
The eSports Arena in Santa Ana California claims to be the first bona-fide esports space, founded in 2015, and since expanded to multiple venues spanning Oakland to Las Vegas. Nationwide, from high school gymnasiums to full-blown stadiums, esports competitions and crowds are on the rise. South Korean incumbent OGN announced today they are going to put $100m into North American eSports events and content and Full Sail University in Florida is now investing millions into an on campus facility of their own, to be completed next year.
“We foresee there being a little league for esports,” Patrick Cramer says of QU3UE’s vision. “Something for all ages where gamers in Minnesota can come and grow in this exciting new environment.”
The Cramer’s are becoming a family of entrepreneurs. Paul started, scaled, and sold enterprise software provider BarometerIT to Toronto’s Changepoint in 2015. After that, he teamed up with wife Anne Cramer to launch a mobile app, Who’s Driving, though that didn’t meet the same level of success.
The latest adventure will be the first time Cramer and sons have gone into business together and despite what conventional wisdom says about mixing family and business, they’re all about it.