Despite the fact that it has successfully hosted more than 120 gaming events in the UK, Multiplay is best described as an underground gem.
While many retailers and publishers may not appreciate what the company does, it has certainly established a name among core gamers through online hosting, plus tournaments and LAN parties such as the long-running i-Series and M Festival events.
Back in August, insomnia40 saw an attendance of around 4,500 people. As Multiplay prepares to build on this with November’s i41 event, the company is keen to bring publishers closer to its colossal following.
“Multiplay is able to provide access to a huge online community of gamers and live events such as the i-Series, bringing together gaming enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond,” says managing director Craig Fletcher. “We’re frequently called upon by developers and publishers for the rollout of events, development consultancy and the delivery of online content. We are highly agile and able to provide solutions to a wide variety of technical and logistical problems faced by today’s digital industry.”
The company has already established strong ties with leading publishers such as EA and Ubisoft, which regularly sponsor tournaments and competitions at Multiplay’s events. Fileplay, its download service, has even played a key part in the rollout of the new Medal of Honor.
“We have proven ourselves to be a valuable partner to some of the biggest names in the industry, supporting titles from inception onwards,” says Fletcher. “Right now is a key time for publishers to get involved, with the recent launch of our new version of Fileplay and our November i-Series event falling at a key time for Christmas releases.”
The events in particular are key to the broad audience Multiplay is amassing.
“Our events have evolved from the perception as being totally hardcore gaming events to having much more mainstream appeal,” he says.
“We have families attending and a rapidly growing number of day visitors who come just to see the exhibition, take part in the social events or watch their favourite teams compete in the tournaments.”
Multiplay is also expanding its online services. In the past year alone, the firm has revamped Fileplay and launched hosting operations across the USA and Germany – and the company already has plans to establish a presence in the East. All of this will ensure that its web presence maintains its reputation.
“We have a number of new sites in the pipeline that will further increase our audience and participation online,” he says. “So expect to see more online tournaments, game matchmaking services and increasing social network-style features coming to the Multiplay network of sites.
“Fileplay has a major new feature launching in the next few weeks, which we believe will transform the consumption of user-generated content.”
According to Fletcher, the overall goal is to establish Multiplay as “a global network, where millions of gamers come to play, compete, share content and build communities”. And, of course, that network will be supported by the company’s increasingly successful events.
“We aim to see next year’s events grow to over 10,000 people – both resident and visiting – with expanded exhibition and massively growing online coverage,” says Fletcher. “With the new sites and services we are launching, we expect to more than double our membership and significantly increase our website traffic.
“We also aim to forge even more partnerships with publishers, developers and associated companies and help take gaming more mainstream. We need lifestyle brands supporting events and competitions. We will be pushing our specialist commercial hosting and aim to host a number of MMOs and other games, leveraging our expanding network and hosting centres.”
MULTIPLAY IN NUMBERS
* The firm has been in operation for 13 years, originally founded in 1997
* It is one of the world’s top five game service providers
* It has organised over 120 events, including 40 of its popular i-Series LAN parties
* 4,500 people attended insomnia40, the most recent iteration of the i-Series events
* Almost 100,000 tuned in to the live internet streams of the tournaments held during i40
* 250,000 people have watched videos of the event through Multiplay’s websites
* The company’s network of sites have over 600k registered members and over one million unique website visitors per month.
* Multiplay’s game servers currently cater for over 3.5 million unique users each month