With football season still a couple of weeks out, the NBA mired in a lockout situation, and TV viewers ignoring any baseball game that isn’t part of the World Series, sports bar owners have been kind of at a loss about how to fill their seats. Enter Barcraft. Earlier this year, some enterprising bar owners began tuning their TVs to cyber games – like StarCraft II tournaments – and gamers who once wouldn’t be caught dead in a pub have started pouring in in droves.
The sudden appearance of a horde of pale, Zerg-cheering gamers may confuse traditional bar goers, the Wall Street Journal reports, but bar owners are loving the additional income. Not only does the extra money help pad out the owner’s pockets, but the events are luring a previously untapped segment of the population into pub seats – and gamers used to watching cyber tourneys alone on their PCs are falling in love with Barcraft.
"This feels like the World Cup," software engineer Justin Ng told the WSJ at a recent Barcraft event. "You experience the energy and screams of everyone around you when a player makes an amazing play."
Credit for the Barcraft movement falls at the feet of Hyung Chung, the owner of Chao Bistro in Seattle. At patron Glen Bowers’ suggestion, Chung turned off the Mariners baseball games that Chao customers were ignoring and tuned in to Starcraft. Barcraft was born and has since spread to establishments throughout the country.