A whole new ball game as business venture begins in Southsea

XOAB gaming lounge in Albert Road, Southsea opened at the weekend. From left, co-owners Guy Davies and Matthew Walden with member of staff Matthew Wills 

Picture: Paul Jacobs (160244-4)
XOAB gaming lounge in Albert Road, Southsea opened at the weekend. From left, co-owners Guy Davies and Matthew Walden with member of staff Matthew Wills Picture: Paul Jacobs (160244-4)
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  • Business partners give up steady jobs to open gaming lounge in Albert Road
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THERE was a time when gaming was all about sitting at home alone for hours on end on a console.

But not any more – and a new Portsmouth gaming lounge has cottoned on to this trend.

XOAB opened in Albert Road in Southsea on Saturday and there was a steady stream of gamers, of all ages, through the doors.

The lounge offers the latest multiplayer games on the latest game consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It is all about socialising and the lounge even offers gaming parties for groups.

The enterprise is the brainchild of business partners, Guy Davies and Matthew Walden, who both worked for Virgin Media.

They have packed in their steady jobs and invested everything in the new venture.

Guy, a 26-year-old dad-of-two, who lives above the gaming lounge, said: ‘I like the atmosphere gaming creates.

‘I don’t like people doing it at home on their own.

‘I prefer people to get together and do it and socialise, rather than speaking into a headset.’

The lounge has the latest monitors, meaning the reaction time is a second-and-half-quicker than a normal television when playing games.

Keith Keaton, 13, was one of the many youngsters enjoying the games.

‘It’s good,’ he said. ‘I like it because I do multiplayer at home and I can come here to do it.’

He said his favourite game was Call of Duty.

Guy said: ‘As soon as a game comes out, we can get it in a few days early.

‘If people want to buy it, they can come here and try it first.

‘The fact that Albert Road is such a nice area and the students are around here, it pulls in a lot of people.’

Matthew, 32, originally from North End, said: ‘Gaming used to be single player in their bedroom. Now it’s more interactive.

‘There’s a lot more to gaming now then just pressing A to jump.

‘It’s more social and involves more elements than jumping platforms.’

The lounge plans to do tournaments and midnight lock-ins, where people can play the game the night it is released.