Now at age 33, Artt is pushing gaming further, making today’s graphics-heavy games accessible—and more social—at his place of his business, Pure Esports.
Artt, a graduate of Mesquite High School and Arizona State with a degree in business communications, moved from being bored as a manager in a corporate office to opening his own business in August 2018—a move he said rekindled his youth.
“[I was] a gamer who wanted to do something he was passionate about and make work 'not-work' by doing what you love,” he said. “And I hope I never see a cubicle again.”
He may not if things can continue going as they have. He jokes that if he could figure the weekday component out, he would have four more such Local Arena Network, or LAN, gaming centers open by now, but the weekends keep him plenty busy.
“It’s just like the movie theater business,” Artt said. “People spend their entertainment dollar on the weekends, where[as] during the week, it will be very relaxed. And Friday, Saturday, Sundays—we sometimes don't have a seat for you.”
Pure Esports is something of a throwback to the video game arcades of the 1980s, or even to the pinball palaces of an earlier time. Customers will enter a darkly lit venue—better to see the screen—but instead of plunking change in for another game, they will pay for time at one of the stations. The gamer can then choose from among more than 100 games, from Fortnite to Artt’s favoite, League of Legends.
The Valley has other LAN gaming centers, but Artt has sought to distinguish Pure Esports as more than a pay-to-play place, offering “content” that he said he hopes will bring gamers together.
That “content” ranges from tournaments to streaming to holding practices for the Camelback High School esports team. Pure Esports even holds overnight lock-ins for youth on the last Saturday of each month.
“I want to be the king of esports in Arizona,” Artt said. “There’s that. I want to beat everybody else that's trying to do it and just be able to offer more. That continues to push me. We want to be the company that's doing all we can for competitive gaming in Arizona.”
1275 E. Baseline Road, Ste. 107, Gilbert
Mon-Thu. noon-11 p.m., Fri. noon-1 a.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Pure Esports is not a large space—a larger one may come along in a couple of years, owner Dan Artt said—but it is densely packed. Here are some key statistics.
2,200 square feet
38 Gaming PCs, 12 XBOX One X’s, Nintendo Switch, and a high-tech streaming station
144Hz monitors and Logitech Pro Series peripherals
More than 100 games