For the millions addicted to Facebook games, they are still a number who prefer the social element of playing games in the same room as their friends. The latter can often be found spending hours in spaces like PlayNation.
Formerly known as ‘The Hangout’, PlayNation offers rental services of over 200 board games and 100 video game titles for the Wii, Xbox and Kinect gaming platforms. Some of the more popular titles include Jurassic Jumble and True Colours board games, as well as Just Dance 2 and Wii Sports Resort video games.
Started by business partners Gabriel Leow and Wong Kai Jun in 2009, PlayNation’s first outlet was opened in Prinsep Street. “We decided on the PlayNation idea as social bonding is an element that will always stay around, decades down the road,” Kai Jun explained.
Following the success of its first outlet, PlayNation opened a second store in *Scape in April 2011, with a floor size of 2,500 square feet, or two 5-room sized HDB flats.
“We are very focused on creating a lifestyle, a place to hangout, a brand, and not just a gaming cafe,” said Kai Jun, explaining PlayNation’s differences from similar hangouts as Minds Café, Settlers’ Café or Pitstop.
The new outlet is designed to have 3 sections: board gaming, video gaming, and a cluster of rooms for bigger groups of up to 10 people, all designed by the duo with help from with a few friends, including famous local artist Andre Tan.
Those looking to game through a meal or some light snacks are grateful that the store includes a cafe with dishes like Fish and Chips and Chicken Chop for under $10.
Not surprisingly, PlayNation is most crowded on Fridays and through the weekends, as well as during school and public holidays, with over 1,000 customers on an average week at each of its outlets.
“Our outlets are always full to the brim during the December holidays, especially with tertiary students and young working adults,” explains Kai Jun.
Gabriel and Kai Jun make it a point to keep PlayNation’s services affordable, especially to students with little or no extra income.
Rental packages start from $6 to $15 per 4 hours of board gaming per person, or $8.50 to $15 for video gaming, with free flow of soft drinks.
PlayNation also offers a free 1-year membership to customers who accumulate over $100 in spending over 3 months, which is renewable for $10 a year.
Members enjoy a 10% discount on all rentals except during happy hour as well as during the eve and on public holidays, on top of a 15% cut on all services during their birthday month and special invites to members-only events.
With business doing well at its second store, the PlayNation brand is set to expand even further with a new outlet next year and house-brand games.
Play nation has also been nominated for Spirit Of Enterprise 2011. Voting is available at http://www.soe.org.sg/sg/voter/.
PlayNation is open daily and located along Prinsep St and at *Scape. Visit their website at www.playnation.com.sg for more information.