“Airports are a very boring place,” says Jordan Walbridge, president and founder of Gameway. “You're trapped there and you have nowhere to go, and oftentimes you have nothing to do.”
Gameway will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day at Gate 42 in Terminal B and Gate 16 in Terminal E. Passengers will be able to play 19 preinstalled Xbox One video games.
“We were always looking at ways to bring entertainment into an airport,” Walbridge says. “We looked into the demographics of who’s a video gamer, and according to our sources, half of Americans play video games at least eight hours a week or more. And of that half of the people who play video games, the average age of a male gamer is 35 years old, and the average age of a female gamer is in her mid-40s.”
Passengers can pay either 42 cents per minute or $20 for unlimited pay. Terminal B has 14 gaming units, and Terminal E has 22.
Games offered are popular titles: Fortnite, FIFA 18, Deadrising 4, Call of Duty WWII, Battlefield 1, Forza Horizon 3, Halo the Master Chief Collection, Injustice 2, Lego Marvel Superheroes 2, NBA 2K18, Star Wars Battlefront 2, Overwatch, Plants vs Zombies, Monster Hunter World, Rise of The Tomb Raider, Minecraft, State of Decay 2, Rocket League and Madden 18.
“There are always going to be the newest and best games,” Walbridge says. “So if the new Madden game comes out, then we're going to replace the old Madden.”
Guests will be able to log in to their accounts. Each lounge has leather chairs, noise-cancellation headphones and places to charge phones. Each console has a 43-inch 4K TV.
Walbridge says that the company spoke to several major airports, but D/FW was the one that really wanted to make the project work.
“We feel like Dallas/Fort Worth chose us,” Walbridge says. “We talked to major airports across the country, but it was Dallas that was really aggressive in pursuing us right away.”
“We talked to major airports across the country, but it was Dallas that was really aggressive in pursuing us right away.” – Jordan Walbridge
Emma Walbridge, Jordan's wife, is a co-founder of Gameway and came up with the idea. She used to run hotels in England and knew that hotels were busy during the weekends and empty during the weekdays. She knew Gameway needed to be in a place people visit all the time — like the airport.
“As soon as she said that to me, it was like a lightning bolt struck,” Jordan Walbridge says. “I became totally obsessed with the idea.”
Walbridge decided to offer only Xbox One consoles because when he was stationed in the army in Afghanistan in 2004, he saw that the one thing soldiers had in common was that they returned to base and played Xbox.
“We had 16 people play Halo in the Xbox,” Walbridge says. “It really had a special place in my heart.”
Walbridge wants to expand into other D/FW terminals, as well as other North American and international airports.
“We have a global vision,” Walbridge says. “We would love to expand in the London airport, Hong Kong, Beijing or Dubai. These are big goals that we have, and it starts at D/FW showing that this concept works.”