Inside Montreal’s International Gaming House
Support for up-and-coming eSports gamers in Canada has stepped up a notch, thanks to the opening of one of the country’s first gaming houses. Located in Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Montreal, the two-storey house has become the base of operations for a semi-professional team comprising players from the USA, Belgium, Denmark, and Latvia.
The team, Montreal Rebellion, is owned by Toronto-based OverActive Media. The company, which aims to bring more eSports franchises to the country, is taking care of most of the bills. In addition to paying the rent and buying groceries, it also pays the team’s general manager, coaches, and players modest salaries. This sounds like it could be the perfect set-up for a non-stop party lifestyle, but that could not be further from the truth. At least, not unless you consider spending hours in front of a computer to be a party. The players, all of whom are under the age of 25, play first-person shooter video game Overwatch for at least nine hours a day, six days a week.
Eyes On the Prize
According to assistant coach Chris Myrick, having a passion for video gaming is the only way to handle the gruelling pace, which is not just practice for practice’s sake. Instead, the team is trying to make it into the Overwatch Contenders League, a development league that could ultimately help them realise their dream of competing at a professional level.
Presumably, such dedication and drive also is how the teammates cope with sleeping on single mattresses in shared bedrooms, and surviving on a diet of mostly instant ramen noodles.
A Sensible Set-Up
One of the players, 22-year-old Joshua Small, who hails from Chicago, said the gaming house was the best solution for a team with members from around the world. One of the biggest challenges faced by the Montreal Rebellion was organising long practice sessions across time zones.
That challenge has now been surmounted, much to the delight of Small and his fellow teammates. However, in addition to making practising easier, the initiative has held other perks for the player, such as making new friends and learning new skills.
In an interview with a Canadian publication, he said that it was the first time he had lived with a group of people who, like him, were focused on achieving a level of professionalism within eSports. He added that it gave him the chance to play on top-of-the-range equipment; something he would not have been able to do at home.