SAN JOSE — GameWorks, a fast-expanding entertainment venue that caters to millennials, teenagers, and families, has struck a deal to open a Silicon Valley venue at San Jose’s Oakridge Mall.
The latest video games, popular arcade games, as well as dining and beverages, are among the attractions that GameWorks will offer.
“We love tech, tech people are our people,” Philip Kaplan, chief executive officer of GameSports, said in an interview Monday. “I’m a San Francisco native, some of the other people running the business with me are from the tech industry. The new San Jose location will have a techie feeling to it.”
eSports — live video game competitions — will potentially become the most enticing feature offered by GameWorks, which will be located in a two-level space once occupied by Ethan Allen furniture gallery at Oakridge Mall.
“We chose San Jose and the heart of the vibrant Silicon Valley market for our next location, based on a number of key influencing factors,” Kaplan said.
“The considerable number of video game publishers and technology companies in the area, as well as the large gamer population” are among the factors that Kaplan cited behind the move into San Jose and the Silicon Valley.
The new Westfield Oakridge location for GameWorks is expected to be 23,500 square feet. The San Jose location will be the first GameWorks venue for the company in the Bay Area. GameWorks operates a separate dining-oriented concept called TableTop Tap House in San Francisco.
“We expect to open a number of GameWorks venues around the country and we believe the Bay Area has the potential for multiple GameWorks stores,” Kaplan said.
San Jose is the eighth GameWorks venue and the ninth overall, including the San Francisco TableTop operation, he said. JLL, a commercial real estate brokerage, is scouting for future locations.
The company also stages frequent corporate events at its venues.
“Most of the major tech companies that you have heard of do corporate events with us,” said Kaplan, although he didn’t provide any specific names.
The GameWorks at Oakridge site should be open sometime in the winter of 2019-2020, the company and the mall estimated.
“We are excited to welcome GameWorks to our center and our community,” said Jacob Huerta, general manager at Westfield Oakridge Shopping Center.
“We pride ourselves in offering the best in casual dining, shopping, and entertainment for the community,” Huerta said. “GameWorks is the perfect addition to our portfolio.”
Construction is underway on the site of GameWorks, which will have about 50 employees, including managers and rank-and-file workers, according to Kaplan.
The venue will also offer food prepared by an on-site chef.
“We will have modern dining concepts,” Kaplan said. “It’s not just a basic burger. You can get an Impossible Burger, burgers that are custom made, a fresh kale salad. You can get milkshakes with a giant ice cream cone hanging off the top of them.”
GameWorks takes multi-player games — which frequently are played by people at isolated game consoles who rarely if ever see each other in person — to a new level, in Kaplan’s view.
“Coming to a venue like GameWorks is a social event,” Kaplan said. “You get great food, and you play with other people, friends, or even professional video game players.”
Video-game tournaments will also be a possibility.
“There’s nothing like sitting across from the person who you just blew up in the game and shouting at each other that you got them this time,” Kaplan said. “We can run hundreds of games at a time.”