Keeper of the Plans

Video gamers, entrepreneurs to come together Saturday

Wichita eSports and Shocker Startup’s Unconference takes place Saturday afternoon on the Wichita State University campus.
Wichita eSports and Shocker Startup’s Unconference takes place Saturday afternoon on the Wichita State University campus. Courtesy photo

What do video games and entrepreneurs have in common?

Both rely on innovation, according to Wichita eSports, which is hosting its Unconference Tech/Gaming Expo on Saturday at Wichita State University.

It’s the first time the group, led by Ramsey Jamoul, has done an event like this. In the past, Wichita eSports’ events have been semi-professional video game tournaments without the focus on entrepreneurship.

“We’re hoping to kind of blend gaming, tech startups and entrepreneurs together and see what can come out of that,” said Jamoul, CEO of Wichita eSports. “Part of the reason why we’re doing it is just to see what people want to talk about as far as those categories, and when they mix up.”

We’re hoping to kind of blend gaming, tech startups and entrepreneurs together and see what can come out of that.

Ramsey Jamoul, CEO of Wichita eSports

ESports is a term used to describe professional video-game playing, and it’s surprisingly addicting to watch.

Think of watching a really good gamer play “Call of Duty” and get the highlights you could only dream of pulling off, or maybe watching a gamer win matches in “Super Smash Brothers” using Jigglypuff.

The concept of video games meshed with entrepreneurship has already taken hold in Wichita, as groups like Fireshark Gaming and Quickdraw Studios have led the charge in video game innovation locally.

Fireshark has an immersive video-game experience at its location near 21st and Greenwich, and Quickdraw Studios is in the business of creating video games as marketing tools. Quickdraw recently developed a Riverfest-themed game for phones, and an arcade game custom-installed and -programmed for Hopping Gnome Brewing Company.

Video games are not a frivolous pursuit – the industry brought in more than $22 billion in revenue in 2014, according to the Entertainment Software Association.

ESports tournament prize pools are growing nationally as well – last month’s League of Legends 2016 World Championship had a prize pool of more than $5 million. That’s as much as some major professional golf tournaments.

To reinforce that entrepreneurial angle, Wichita eSports has teamed with Shocker Startup to host the Unconference, which many local businesses and entrepreneurs are scheduled to attend.

“There’s a huge relationship between entrepreneurship and video games – it’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, and it’s really incredible that Wichita eSports is on the front line of that in Kansas,” said Hannah Hund, president of Shocker Startup. “Wichita eSports has “such an entrepreneurial spirit – they’re looking forward at what the trend is and taking advantage of the market, helping lead what it will become.”

Admission to the Unconference is free, though if you want to participate in an “NHL 17” tournament, it will cost $25.

One amusing Unconference tidbit: Chiropractors will be there to teach you proper posture for the hours you can spend playing video games.

“It’s a really thin line to say how it relates to tech or gaming in that regard, but it’s one of the most-needed things we’ll probably have there,” Jamoul said.

For more information, visit www.wichitaesports.com.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

Unconference Tech/Gaming Expo

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5

Where: Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount

Admission: Free

Schedule: Available at www.wichitaesports.com/unconferenceschedule.pdf.

  Comments