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So you want to open a video games lounge?

By Steve Mbego | September 5th 2018 at 09:49:26 GMT +0300

Video game console

Playing video games is a popular way of passing time or unwinding, especially among urban youth. The popularity of gaming can be a good source of income, particularly if you choose a location with heavy foot traffic. Here’s how to get started:

What you’ll need

1. Capital

The capital required to start a video gaming business depends on two factors: the number of customers to be served per session and the nature of the equipment bought.

For a five-station gaming lounge with five TV sets and five gaming consoles, and a few games, you can expect to spend about Sh300,000. However, you can bring the costs down by buying used equipment and starting out in a smaller space.

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2. Gaming consoles

There are different types of gaming consoles, but the most popular ones in Kenya are PlayStations and XBox. Fanuel Opiyo of Ace Pro Gaming says the costs of the consoles depend on storage capacity and models. A PS4 with 500GB storage capacity will set you back about Sh40,000, while a PS2 costs about Sh10,000. Older models and consoles with smaller storage capacities cost less.

3. Games

You can buy games online from gaming stores, which will cost between Sh2,000 and Sh5,000 per copy. Fanuel adds that you can buy used games from the Kenya Gaming Network, a social site for the gaming community, at a cheaper price, or check online stores like Jumia and OLX.

4. TV sets

Investing in a quality TV will give your customers a better gaming experience. Therefore, go for TVs with good resolutions. Fanuel says the ideal TV size for playing games is 32 inches and above. A new 32-inch set costs between Sh15,000 and Sh35,000, depending on the brand.

5. Location and space

Rent space in a secure building – gaming equipment is in high demand, so theft is a real risk.

You’re generally chasing after customers aged below 30, but you also need a market with purchasing power. Keep in mind that students will be busy with school, so they may not be as regular as you hope. Therefore, keep your overheads low. Consider busy estates, as well as locations around universities and colleges. You can add refreshments for sale and provide comfortable seating and good music to keep customers coming.

6. Licences

You’ll need a business licence from your county government, as well from the Music Copyright Society of Kenya. These will cost you between Sh15,000 and Sh35,000 depending on your county and the size of your business.

What you don’t need

You don’t need to buy brand new games, consoles and screens. Fanuel says you can cut start-up costs by a significant margin by buying used equipment in good condition. Also, use equipment that’s compatible with as many gaming videos as possible. 

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