Tacoma Internet Gaming Center Provides On-line Reality Net for All Age Players

"With the well publicized outbreaks of youth violence in schools today, many in the media and public have pointed an...

“With the well publicized outbreaks of youth violence in schools today, many in the media and public have pointed an accusing figure at movies and computers games filled with violent content as a factor behind the rise in youth crime. A recent government study concluded that a lack of parental involvement, rather than games, music, and movies, are the leading reasons behind the problem of youth violence. The problem that confronts society is how to ensure children are not exposed to potentially harmful material, without having the government decide what is appropriate, and what is not? With this in mind, a local company, Reality Net, is doing something about it. Founded in November of 1999, Reality Net offers high speed internet access and gaming for users of all ages and experience levels. Customers can rent time on numerous high-end computers to browse the Internet, or they can select from a library of current and popular games and play them against other customers or opponents online.What makes Reality Net unique among gaming places, is no person under the age of 18 is allowed to play games that have been rated mature, or use unfiltered Internet access unless they have the permission of their parents, or guardian. Bob Gohl is the founder of Reality Net, and along with his partners Justin Judd, Jon Milligan, and John Conroy, they have created a place designed to be both entertaining and safe for people of all ages.Asked how the business was started, Gohl replied, after visiting several banks and encountering difficulties in getting a startup loan – even with an approved business plan from the Small Business Association – we resorted to obtaining supplies and financing through personal lines of credit and personally guaranteed leases. Planning has been essential to the success of the business, and the founders at Reality Net.The current location was chosen, as expansion was always in the plan, Gohl said, So we chose a facility that could be used to double the current floor space if needed.The location is also located in an area that has experienced rapid growth and has several colleges located nearby, Gohl said. When customers want a break from gaming, Reality Net shows PG-13 or under movies on a DVD player, and offers a variety of treats.Since their opening, Reality Net has hosted a number of events ranging from weekly gaming tournaments, to all night gaming parties.In the six months since the business opened, it has been ahead of projections, Gohl said.We have constantly been above our projected earnings, and this has enabled us to be profitable within the first 5 months of our opening, Gohl said. Gohl said the business originally planed to target customers between 18 to thirty-something, but since we opened, we have attracted people of all ages. One of the newest programs at the business to be started is a Cyber-Seniors program, where senior citizens can gain computer skills via supervised instruction. This program has done well, and the classes are regularly booked, Gohl said. Perhaps the most dramatic events at Reality Net, are the game premieres of tourneys. When a new game is released, it is often premiered to the public at Reality Net, giving players a chance to see and play the game to decide if they want to purchase it. Since software is available at the store, the try-before-you-buy approach has been very popular with consumers. Reality Net is planning to host more events in the future involving fundraising for local charities. The owners of the company say they believe strongly in being a positive and active part of the community.The next big event scheduled is for a Star Trek Armada tournament on Saturday, June 3.The biggest challenge for the company according to Gohl, is the rapidly changing pace of technology. To solve this problem, we lease our equipment, as technology rarely changes faster than a equipment lease term, and due to our experience in the industry, we can change parts of the computers as needed, rather than having to replace the entire unit, Gohl said. Reality Net has plans to build on their gaming business, according to Gohl.Besides continuing to rent time on the computers, we will increase revenue by forming a software division to design and produce gaming software, Gohl said. This is a natural extension of the business, and by obtaining first hand feedback from our customers, we can offer games and programs that the public desires. Reality Net is located at 2503 6th Avenue, Tacoma, and is open noon to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 10:00 a.m. to Midnight on Friday and Saturday. The business is closed on Sundays.For more information, call Reality Net at 253-274-0938, or visit www.realitynetinc.com.Gareth Von Kallenbach is a teacher, host of a weekly radio show on KGHP FM in Gig Harbor, and a freelance writer.”

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