Last night t I was invited to Monte Casino to the grand opening of The H.I.V.E which stands for Highly Interactive Virtual Entertainment. Being at Monte Casino I was expecting something to do with gambling but in fact it turned out to be a new venue for playing online video games.
The assortment of press and partners was a bit of a weird one with myself, Lauren from NAG and a bunch of what I can only imagine are mainstream newspaper or magazine journalists there as they didn’t seem to know what the shop was even after it was announced.
The concept is as straight forward as you get really. There are 16 stations; 9 downstairs and 7 upstairs, with custom software running that only allows you to play one of the 7 pre-loaded games. Those games being;
- Black Ops 2
- H.A.W.X 2
- Guild Wars 2
- Starcraft 2
- Battlefield 3
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- World of Warcraft
All the games are hooked up to the relevant online communities via 2 x 4Mb ADSL lines.
You buy store credit at a rate of R35 an hour which works like pre-paid airtime where you are given a notification with 10 minutes remaining to top up and the time can be used whenever you want.
The Father and son team who are running the business have big plans for expansion with their next shop planned for Pretoria then Cape Town and then Durban and the rest of the country. And then Australia, Europe and America… yes he said that.
The plan is that the credit can be used at any store across the country, but the chance of me needing credit at Monte Casino and then again in Canal Walk seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
We were then given a chance to try our hands at Black Ops 2 with the two gaming journalists playing alongside the mainstream media who had to be taught how to run, shoot and aim.. and what the point of the game was… which was an interesting thing to watch unfold.
Unfortunately my station kept disconnecting from Steam but everyone is allowed first night glitches and I’m sure they will have all those issues sorted out in a short period of time.
We played two more games after that where I started to find my love for PC gaming again, it really is way better playing FPS games with a keyboard and mouse and our team dominated both matches which always makes things more fun.
In the end I can’t say the store is offering anything unique but it appears to have a fair bit of cash behind them and I do really hope it works out for them. I cut my teeth gaming in Internet cafe’s and it’s where we found Darryn so good things do come out of these places.
if you’re interested in taking a look The Hive is located at Shop 32 in Monte Casino, right across from Joe Parkers Comedy Club and just down the passage from the arcade and movie theatre so they really do have their location perfect.
However if you do go make sure to say that NAG sent you because the owner is so obsessed with them I wouldn’t want to burst his bubble. Congrats to the NAG journalist for walking away with 3 prizes for beating the mainstream media and losing to the Matrix Employees… yeah that was weird.
You can find more information about The Hive on their webpage