Our tech start-up of the week is Noob Gaming, a Co Cork-based e-sports and gaming event organiser and online community, which is focusing on both the Irish and international competitive video-game industry. Founded and led by Paul Allen, a duty manager with the multinational business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Voxpro, Noob Gaming now has its sights set on becoming a high-potential start-up (HPSU) here in Ireland, so it can create jobs in the coding space and, eventually, go global.
Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com, Allen, who hails from Cork, says the ultimate aim is for Noob Gaming to be a global name in social gaming circles, one day.
So, a little bit more about the start-up, which is being led by a team of developers and content generators who each have a day job – at the BPO multinational Voxpro, which is based in Cork.
Social networking for gamers
With more and more indie game developers cropping up around Ireland, Noob Gaming is on a mission to help such gamers connect with one another and with the industry itself, while also allowing gamers to engage in a bit of social wagers and hang out online in a social community to thrash out ideas and make connections.
Allen, who works full time at Voxpro, says he hopes Noob Gaming will become a major player in the e-sports market internationally.
He set up Noob Gaming last year. The platform went into beta mode in November and, after being tested out by the start-up team, industry, and e-sports gamers alike, Noob Gaming exited beta mode in March.
Now, Allen and the team, including chief operations officer (COO) Kevin Sanderson, are on a mission to become a HPSU, supported by Enterprise Ireland. In line with that strategy, they want to take on the indie gaming world and help such gamers communicate more and make connections in industry.
And how did it all begin for Noob Gaming?
Allen says that he has, in his own time, built around 30 or 40 websites himself, with regard to search engine optimisation (SEO). He wanted to start a new venture around e-sports and gaming, but did not have a huge amount of coding experience so he set out building up a team.
Each of the team members now involved in Noob Gaming works at Voxpro. Cliona Ward, meanwhile, previously worked with the start-up and did the content generation and updating of Noob Gaming’s website.
Mentoring support from employer – Voxpro
Allen says that, in addition to his job at Voxpro, an 18-hour working day, seven days a week, is the norm for him at the minute, as he wants to make Noob Gaming a success.
Think of a social networking platform for gamers, and that is what Noob Gaming appears to be all about.
And the venture has had lots of support from industry, and legal experts, in Ireland.
"We have received invaluable encouragement and support from our employer, Voxpro. Additionally, we are backed by the legal team of Fachtna O’Driscoll and Solictors," explains Allen.
He says that Noob Gaming has also secured funding from Bank of Ireland as well as international sponsorship from Spanish company Ozone Gaming Gear.
Battleship and strategy
And a little bit more about Noob Gaming.
"We run tournaments and we build a community, both in Ireland and internationally where people can learn and become involved and discuss a game ( the main game is StarCraft), outside of the actual game itself.
Allen says he was introduced to StarCraft from a friend. Apparently, StarCraft is a real-time strategy game to build armies and micro-finance them – he says it’s one of the most competitive video games in the world.
StarCraft, a game from Blizzard, has since become Noob Gaming’s main game in its e-sport strategy.
As for the beta testing of Noob Gaming, Allen says the team put out the site to a certain amount of users. "We had to redesign things a couple of times.
"We only properly launched in March of this year."
In the offline world, the start-up has also run tournaments via WarpCon at University College Cork.
Allen says the ultimate goal is for Noob Gaming to become a "major player" in the e-sports market internationally.
"Firstly we are trying to create a platform for Irish gamers to connect with each other and industry." He believes that there are at least 50 indie game developers beavering away in Ireland at the moment.
Right now, Allen says that Noob Gaming is hoping to gain viability to become a HPSU, as it launches new products in the coming months. Watch this space!