Lifelong Mahopac resident Robert Ponte said last week he chose to create Game USA New York in the Jefferson Valley Mall because “I had a huge passion about it.”
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always told my parents I wanted to play video games,” Ponte said. “They said well, you’ve got to learn something else because you can’t make a living off of playing video games. I kind of pushed that right back in their faces now that I’m 28.”
Game USA New York, which opened on October 5, has 30 game stations featuring various brands. “People can come in with a group of friends and jump right online and all be connected simultaneously,” Ponte said. “Or you could have one or two people walk in with their mom or their dad or their family and they can sit on the couches and enjoy some family fun gaming.”
Game USA also hosts three to four tournaments a week, with a capacity of 120 people, Ponte said. In addition, the business hosts birthday parties and other special events.
Ponte is seeking to hold fund raising events to benefit the local food pantry and also to assist local student athletes to obtain new jerseys and equipment. “I’m a kid from the community so I want to do whatever I can to help the community out,” he said.
Video gaming has grown significantly in recent years, Ponte said. “It’s amazing how much this has taken off just in my lifetime,” he said. Over the past 20 years gaming done online has allowed game players to compete with others from around the world, he said. “These kids love to be on the Internet and love to be as close to technology as possible,” he said.
Ponte explained why he opened his new business in the Jefferson Valley Mall. “I wanted give them (youths) a place where they could go and meet people with the same interest,” Ponte said. “Malls should move toward the community center type of atmosphere where you do have 10 or 15 businesses that are giving you an experience or proving a service rather than a product because products you can get on Amazon.”
Ponte said he decided to name his business Game USA because “I wanted it to be a franchise name because eventually I want to expand into multiple different states. So, I figured that USA gives me a national brand.”
Ponte said he will seek to have his business be an arena for tournaments and to sponsor youths “to get them onto the national circuit” and lead them to ultimately become professional gamers.
Game USA New York is located on the first floor of the Jefferson Valley Mall, 650 Lee Blvd. For more information, call 914-272-9771 or visit gameusany.com. Game USA New York is also on Facebook and Instagram.