Christian Jackson and Kris London, childhood friends who’ve played video games for years, are jumping on board a business that takes games on the road to customers.
The Longview natives, whose KC’s Rolling Video Games is at least the second mobile-gaming business in Longview, are joining what some in the industry say is a growing niche in gaming.
Jackson and London, both 26 and Longview natives, launched KC’s Rolling Video Games a month ago out of a 32-foot-long trailer that is equipped with five screens on the inside and two outside.
KC’s Rolling Video Games joins Gamesters Paradise, a business founded three years ago by Romeo Amaya that already has two two buses equipped with 10 screens for video- and virtual-reality games. Amaya has four employees and said his buses go to venues such as birthday parties, wedding parties and company events within a 100-mile radius of Longview.
Whether buses or trailers, the trend of mobile video-game entertainment business appears to be growing.
Dana Gainer, who is in charge of sales, marketing and training for Rock’ Rollin’ Video Game Party in Pinehurst, North Carolina, said her company was founded in 2010 and began building game trailers seven years ago. Her company has sold 170 game trailers domestically, including 11 in Texas.
Rockin’ Rollin’ did not supply the trailer to KC’s Rolling Video Games.
“The industry is just getting better,” Gainer said. “People are making well over $100,000 a year in the business.”
In addition to filling a niche, the business offers advantages to new entrants, she said, including lower overhead costs with no brick and mortar. Other advantages are no need for chaperones and permission slips for parents to sign, because the video-game entertainment comes to the players.
KC’s Rolling Video Games is the first business partnership for Jackson and London, who said they wanted to try something different.
London said he brings two years as the owner of a recording studio and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the Texarkana campus of Texas A&M University. He said he earned a master’s degree online in the entertainment business from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Jackson, a U.S. Marine veteran, said he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree online in information technology from Full Sail.
The partners take their trailer to birthday parties and other events within a 50-mile radius of Longview. And when the trailer is not in use, they park it at a security storage business, as Amaya does with his two buses.
So far, London and Jackson said they have booked birthday parties, but they want to expand to weddings, churches, schools and fundraisers.
The trailer, which is equipped with LED lighting, surround-sound and air conditioning, can seat 12 people comfortably, London said.
They have an inventory of more than 35 games. London said Call of Duty, Madden NFL 19 and NBA 2K19 are among the most popular.
Amaya said, “I know I have over $5,000 (invested) in games,” including virtual reality games. He estimated his inventory consists of 100 games.
Players insert the video games into the consoles of the 55-inch screens, similar to playing a DVD or CD.
London, Jackson and Amaya said video games appeal to wide age groups, starting at around age 5. Amaya said parents take over the virtual-reality games in the back of the buses.
“We’ve had great-great grandparents playing,” he said.
Amaya, London and Jackson said the game parties generally last about two hours.
“We usually do about 20 to 30 people at a time,” Amaya said, adding that each bus seats as many as 47 people.
Amaya, who has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Tyler, said he founded Gamesters Paradise to provide “something that was affordable to a lot of families. We don’t charge per kid. We do it by the hours.”
London and Jackson indicated they had high-minded goals as well.
“We want to do something positive,” Jackson said.
London interjected, “We want to show that millennials our age can be successful. We are in a position where we can give back to the community.”
Meanwhile, both Gamesters Paradise and KC’s Rolling Video Games are trying to expand their opportunities. Amaya said his company started teaming up with schools Friday to offer an incentive program to encourage children to attend school and excel in their studies during a five-week challenge.
Students who make the cut will be able to join teachers, police officers and firefighters in pulling a bus with a rope. As many as 200 children would participate, and if they succeed in pulling the bus by 1 foot they would be rewarded with a video-game party inside the vehicle.
Amaya said he also is seriously considering franchising, probably within a month.
“Everybody wants to be successful,” he said.
Right now, London and Jackson are trying to build their business.
London said he and Jackson plan to conduct tournaments for competitive games such as Madden NFL 19.
But for now, he and Jackson are enjoying a business that involves a fun activity.
“As for me, it keeps being a child in me,” Jackson said.
London said, “I think we want to enjoy it while we’ve got it because work is play and play is work.”