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Polycade could be the future of retro eSports


A start-up company called Polycade hopes to bring back retro arcade style gaming. The company is at Comcast NBCUniversal Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Polycade founders Tyler Bushnell and Jake Galler hope to bring back a more traditional style of social gameplay. Based in Los Angeles, the company has designed connected arcade consoles with a platform of digital games.

The inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator chose ten startups to join a 13-week programme in Philadelphia.

Bushnell said: “As we moved around and got older, our arcade dwindled. We sold the machines. Some of them broke. Also, moving arcade machines was not fun. So, all that disappeared. For a long time, I was nostalgic for it. I really wanted those games back, so I sat down and built a console.”

The Polycade console can play old games like Asteroids and Centipede, and also new games created by a developers. The devices uses the Steam appstore to provide users with endless gaming.

Simplicity of traditional eSports gaming

The games will also go back to the simplicity of traditional arcade games: easy for people to pick up.

Bushnell added: “We’re making it as easy as possible for the casual gamer to have a good experience. The games are really easy to learn. It speaks to these people who grew up with more simple games. You don’t need a PhD to play.”

Polycade launched via Kickstarter campaign. It raised $125,000 with a goal of just $20,000.

eSports is a rapidly growing industry, set to challenge NFL with a predicted 300 million viewers by 2022. The huge potential for a spectator experience IRL is only just being explored.

According to, Goldman Sachs valued the global eSports market at $500 million in 2016. The sector is predicted to grow at 22% annually over the next three years into a more than $1 billion opportunity. Industry statistics are already backing this valuation and demonstrate the potential for massive earnings from sponsorship and providing an immersive spectator experience.

Blooloop spoke with industry experts Professor Andy Miah and Brian Mirakian about the growth of eSports and also what this will mean for the visitor experience.

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Michael Mander

Michael Mander

I am a journalist from Essex, England. I enjoy travelling, and love exploring attractions around the world. I graduated from Lancaster University in 2018. Twitter @michael_mander.

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