Gaming hotels continue to sprout up, highlighting the expansion of gaming lifestyle destinations. Game on Cornwall, one of the latest entrants, is hoping to make a splash in Penzance, England with what it claims will be “the first gaming hotel in the U.K.” The destination aims to present an expansive gaming-hotel concept. Game on Cornwall first launched on Dec. 3, 2022 as a gaming store on the ground floor, and will fully “launch as a gaming hotel in February or March ,” says Neil Potter, one of the establishment’s four founders. The gaming destination is opening in the space vacated by the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill store.
Game on Cornwall “was originally conceived as a large gaming shop offering new gaming experiences, including VR games,” says Potter. “We were sparked by the massive interest in gaming, especially during the pandemic, when people were stuck inside with little to do. We realized that games are good for people’s mental health. Beyond that, we saw the building we took over lends itself to residential and retail space and, considering it’s four floors, we decided to turn the space into a hotel.”
The gaming retail space, which includes the game shop, some gaming rooms, and an e-sports room, occupies more than 3,000 sq. ft. and will also include 150 analog games. In the e-sports area, people will be able “to compete nationally and internationally,” notes Potter.
The hotel’s guestrooms will be themed to reflect particular gaming categories, and will be outfitted with high-tech electronics. For example, there will be a medieval-themed guestroom with medieval-styled furniture that “will evoke the experience of such games as Dungeons and Dragons,” says Potter. Another room will be themed around “retro games [such] as Tetris and Super Mario Brothers,” he adds.
Additionally, the hotel will be equipped with six high-end gaming PCs, enabling competitions in e-sports and other gaming genres. Guests will be able to play games on vintage and modern gaming systems and merchandise, including Pokemon cards, as well as World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Fortnite. A VIP room in the facility “will allow two players to compete on a Pac-Man game system.” The facility will also offer VR game experiences using Meta Quest headsets, including a highly immersive version of Dungeons and Dragons. Other guests will be able to view the action on a large screen in the VR space. The establishment will also license 20 to 25 games for use in the leisure facility.
Additionally, the Game On bar in the hotel will serve up gaming-themed mocktails, milk shakes and snacks.
Potter says the hotel will offer a “boutique hotel-quality experience at budget prices.” For example, a room will likely run “under £100 ($164) a night, and guests will have the option of paying for a room or paying for a package comprising a room and particular gaming experiences,” says Potter.
The founders’ aim with the leisure facility is to “create an inclusive space that makes all people feel comfortable.” At the same time, the space “isn’t for any specific gender or orientation .” So far, it has attracted “a very diverse mix of people,” says Potter.
Game on Cornwall’s opening has significant implications, as it reflects not only a trend toward gaming themed hotels, but also a trend towards more multifaceted, expansive hotel experiences.
BY MICHAEL MASCIONI