The Past, Present and Future of LAN gaming in India

Vignesh RaghuramPublished On: 
Gaming Centers are at the heart of India’s esports revolution. In South Korea, there are more than 20,000 Internet cafes for online and LAN video game playing, called PC bang. Though LAN gaming centers never took off to this degree in India, there are thousands of them spread throughout the country. They have become a mainstay in esports culture. In fact, If you get a hold of any Pro Player from any game and ask them where they’ve developed and polished their crafts, chances are their answer will be a local Gaming Café.

The Gamers For Life Café

One such gaming café in Bangalore, India’s undisputed video gaming hub, is the ‘Gamers For Life Café – The Gaming Lounge’ aka the ‘G4L Cafe’. The G4L Café plays host to 35 high-end gaming machines, as well as consoles and the first of its kind VR experience in India.
As soon as you enter the Gaming lounge you are almost always welcomed with a friendly greeting from Mr. Hesham 'Zak', the mastermind behind this café. He makes sure that you are enjoying yourself and even offers advice to newer players while helping them get into the game. The staff are attentive, friendly, and always ensure that you are well looked after.
There are a variety of games here at the G4L café the most popular of which are Dota 2, CS:GO and COD. If console gaming is your thing, there is a fantastic selection of platforms and titles to choose from.

The café is all decked up with blazing fast gaming PCs and provides for all the internet bandwidth you could guzzle up.
The Food here is really good as well, aside from the usual cool drinks and snacks, there is an authentic restaurant, which ‘Zak’ manages, which serves some delicious food. We won’t spoil much more else for you, but all we can say is that a few folks from AFK Gaming have had the chance to eat from there and the food is absolutely fantastic. 

The VR Experience

The HTC Vive VR, which is yet to retail in India is available in this café and it is mind-blowing. It’s impossible to explain the feeling of VR, you can read as many reviews as you want, spend hours watching videos, but until you experience it for yourself it’s impossible to understand the feeling of truly entering an alternate world. 

The G4L Café recently even hosted their first ever VR contest, competitors drew their own graffiti using Google’s ‘Tilt Brush’ (A room scale 3D painting virtual reality application).

The VIP Room

The Gamers For Life Café has also recently set up a ‘VIP room’. The VIP room only has 5 PCs in it. But these are the newest and the thus the most powerful PCs here. The ambiance of the VIP room looks great with neon red/purple lighting.

The VIP room is secluded from the rest of the cafe and is thus an ideal spot for professional teams looking to practice, scrim, theory craft and play professional matches.

The VIP room also offers lodging for the night so you can game 24/7 without any distractions.

The Community

What really takes the cake and makes this stand-out amongst hundreds of other gaming cafes in Bangalore is the gaming culture of the people who play here. The Café has a 5-star rating on facebook and the consensus is that it is a ‘home away from home’.
This really shows us how deep the bond between the gamers and the gaming lounge goes. 'Zak', the owner, believes that :

“They are not loyal, if you aren’t loyal to them”

Thus he goes to great lengths to make the G4L experience as delightful as possible.
The G4L café regularly hosts small tournaments for the local community there. They recently hosted a ‘Battleground for Lanners’ tournament in which 4 captains of the will pick teammates randomly out of 16 other gamers who registered for the tournament and they play against each other in a league series.
They even host barbeque parties on the rooftop nearly once every month for their patrons leaving lasting impressions and memories of this lounge.

Many years have passed and while Gaming PCs may not be as expensive as they were 5 years ago, Gaming lounges remain an important arena for gamers and aspiring esports professionals. 

These gaming lounges have created a culture that has been embraced by many gamers here in India. Gamers have turned them into a socialization facility, making it a huge part of their college or post work lives. Many students have suggested that the gaming lounges provides a stress free, fun and youth dominated environment where groups of friends can meet and engage in a relatively harmless form of leisure and entertainment. These games themselves promote a social environment by promoting the development of teams or clans.

These gaming hubs also serve as a big boon in a developing country such as ours with our unreliable internet connections and overpriced Gaming PCs. Aspiring esports professionals can overcome the infamous infrastructure hurdles for as little as INR 30 to 60 per hour - a more than reasonable price to pay for stability during an international tournament qualifier!