EL PASO – A husband-and-wife team is bringing together what they believe is the best of both worlds for coffee lovers and first-person gamers.
Hive Java Lounge and Glitch Gaming Center, 1505 George Dieter, pairs the laid-back atmosphere of a cafe next to a state-of-the-art gaming room.
“If you look around you can see that we’re something that nobody’s ever seen before,” says owner Nick Dobbard. “We offer high-end computers that you can come in and play pretty much any game that you want to play from your Steam account to your Blizzard account to your Uplay.”
Gamer Janes Royce has been a customer of Glitch since it opened in September and says he spends an average 2 to 8 hours a day at the center. The longest he’s played is 10 hours.
“They have a wide variety of games but the one I spend most of my time playing is Battle Ground. I’ll go and play for hours at a time on PC,” Royce says. “I am a console player but when Glitch opened I always wanted to try PC’s and PC gaming and they gave me the opportunity to try it on and I got hooked on it ever since.”
The center also features the Virtuix Omni, a treadmill-based live-action virtual reality system where the player can stand, walk and run throughout the game’s environment. Dobbard says Glitch is the only location in the Southwest that has the Virtuix Omni.
“You can actually move on a platform to move around 360 degrees in the actual video itself and you have full range inside that world. You get fully submerged,” Royce says.
Dobbard and his wife Zorayda initially planned to have a gaming center and nothing more. But once they started getting customers they saw the need to provide refreshments. At first they thought about getting a couple of simple coffee makers, but then decided to go bigger.
“When I was building Glitch, I initially just wanted to start with like 5 Keurig’s but as I was building I wanted to do a much grander scale in coffee. Kind of like a Starbucks concept, but better, I wanted to offer a more personal service,” Dobbard says.
The couple went to Texas Coffee School in Arlington for a week-long coffee education and barista training to help them get started.
“We like to grind it to the perfect ounce, we like to tap it at the perfect weight and cook it at the perfect temperature”, Dobbard says.
The center also went big on its internet connection to keep the action going. According to broadbandnow.com the average game file size is 50 megabytes or more.
“We offer 300 megabytes of internet speed and students love it, gamers need that kind of bandwith because of the files,” Dobbard says
Royce calls the quality of the internet “amazing.”
“In comparison to my home internet service provider when downloading 20 megabytes it would take an hour and at Glitch it’s less than 15 minutes,” Royce says.
Glitch Gaming charges are as follows:
- $6 an hour for games on computers and consoles. This includes games such as Minecraft, Final Fantasy, Gauntlet and CSGO.
- $15 for two virtual reality games, such as The Bellows and Omni Arena, which can each last up to 30 minutes.
- $25 an hour for longer virtual reality games.
- Hardcore Gamer Subscription for $24.99 a month plus 2 free hours. Members get a 50 percent discount on games.
The shop also offers a customer rewards program. “The more that you play, you build up currency and cash it in for drinks, all day passes, more time, a frappe, or a coffee,” Dobbard, says.
Glitch and The Hive Java Lounge is the first business venture together for the Dobbards. Nick Dobbard worked as a self-employed computer technician for the past 15 years. Zorayda has a bachelor’s degree in education and taught in the bilingual education department at Clint Independent School District.
Establishing a business is not easy, let alone two businesses with a lot of upfront cost for computers and other technology. Dobbard says the support of his parents helped make this dream come true.
“It is really hard, as a small business going out and seeking funds is not easy. When you go to a bank, they need collateral – an arm and a leg. But no, seriously, it’s understandable as you’re borrowing a lot of money,” he says. “We had been saving up but it wasn’t enough but my parents are such a blessing that they up-fronted their house for us and this is where we are, I’m truly blessed with that.”
When Glitch Gaming center opened its doors on in September the Dobbards started out with 6 employees and added 11 more when The Hive Java Lounge opened for a total of 17 workers. They’ve since resized to reflect a more moderate growth with 7 total staff, including the Dobbards themselves.
With the coffee industry being so competitive, Dobbard is convinced the local community flavor of their business will give them an edge over corporate franchises.
“What separates us is the customer service. You’re not just a number or a ticket. We want you to come in and we want to get to know you and love you,” Dobbard says. “We are El Paso. People know that when they come here they are coming to a second home.”