Rosslare company's new venture is simply 'vantastic'
Rosslare-based couple Tom and Audrey McCarthy are hoping to make a return to a more social gaming world with their new company Vantastic Gaming.
Their new venture, which kicked off in April, started with nothing more than a Mercedes van. However, by stripping the seats and installing four 48-inch Sony HD screens, sound bars, subwoofers and various consoles, the humble vehicle has been transformed into a paradise for gamers.
The idea of this 'vansformation' was simple: to provide a gaming van as an alternative attraction for events. However, it is the McCarthy's own experience of searching for a birthday party idea that inspired them to bring the idea to fruition.
'We were looking for an idea for our 9-year-old son's birthday in April and were trying to find something that we hadn't done before,' explained Tom, who worked as an Environmental Health Officer in London prior to starting up Vantastic. 'We decided to do a tournament in our home and borrowed three screens and three PlayStations to coordinate a Champion's League Tournament. Everyone afterwards was telling us how much fun their kids had and we just thought, are we on to something here?'
Tom and Audrey got the whole of their community involved with their venture by sourcing their equipment from various local companies. According to the couple, having a Wexford-friendly business model was extremely important to them.
The van allows up to 16 gamers to play at once. Gamers are given the choice of a range of games on the PS4 or Xbox One inside the van while on the outside, a hidden fifth screen allows owners to play interactive games on the Wii U. The inclusion of subwoofers in the seating adds to the experience as players can feel every bump and vibration as they game.
With the van now kitted out, Vantastic Gaming is offering the van for birthdays, weddings, communions and other events. The vehicle can be plugged into a household socket in order for the consoles to be powered. Despite initial expectations, Tom said that the van doesn't cost a lot to run.
'All of the equipment is A-rated,' he explained. 'We tested it out by plugging the van in for two hours and turning everything on and it cost less than one euro for the electricity.'
Vantastic only officially launched last week but according to Tom, it has already sparked interest among adults and children alike. As time goes on, he hopes to inspire people to revert back to the more social side of gaming of the past.
'The whole idea is to bring back a social gaming experience. We are moving away from having kids sitting on a headset playing against people in other countries and encouraging people to play against the person next to them,' he explained.