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(Pocket-lint) - Kinguin might not be right up there with the household names of the videogames industry. But the retail site is certainly making its mark, and an increasing proportion of the gaming population is beginning to take notice of it. Millions of gamers, to be precise: although Kinguin.net has only been around since 2013, over 6.5 million people have connected with Kinguin’s impressive roster of 4,000 sellers. 

Connecting gamers

That’s why Kinguin likes to refer to itself as the Connecting Point: it connects gamers around the globe – Kinguin operates in 130 countries – to the games and items they crave, and for the best prices. But all that connecting over the web could throw up security issues, which is why Kinguin has joined Ravelin, the world’s leading fraud prevention platform. There’s no doubt Kinguin is a safe space for a vast constituency of gamers – and one that is packed with the goodies they want. But there’s more than retail to Kinguin: it’s launching a bid to become one of the games industry’s big beasts.

Backing esports

The key factor that makes Kinguin stand out is the sheer, all-consuming passion for games which is shared by everyone who works for it. That manifests itself in many ways, perhaps the most visible of which is Team Kinguin, a familiar force in the world of esports. The esports team consists of 16 players – sponsored, naturally, by Kinguin -- who currently compete in pro Dota 2, PUBG and CS: GO tournaments, and are backed by 25 support staff.

Recent successes for Team Kinguin include second place at the World Electronic Sports Games in China and a first place during the Cybersport Polish Cup at the IEM in Katowice, one of the biggest events on the e-sports calendar. Team Kinguin is already a big player in the burgeoning esports world, as evidenced by the fact that in July 2017 it became the founding team of ELIGA: a professional esports league owned by the teams themselves. Plus it is a partner of the ESL (the Electronic Sports League), and sponsors ESL One, the Intel Extreme Masters and the ESL Pro League. Kinguin is on a mission to develop and grow the esports scene for men and women, and that’s just what it has been busy doing, ever since esports shot to global significance.

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Nurturing the indie games scene

Another way in which Kinguin’s grassroots passion for gaming manifests itself can be seen in the company’s backing of indie games. Kinguin’s Indie Valley area is simply the place to go if you like your games small, innovative and experimental. It meshes beautifully with Kinguin’s unique status as a games marketplace, since it allows indie developers and publishers to sell their games directly to gamers – with Kinguin providing the PR and marketing skills that indies find a distraction from their core business of letting their creative juices run riot.

Renowned developers who have chosen to sell their unique wares via Kinguin include Fat Dog Games, Transhuman Design, Insel Games and Bitbox. Indie Valley recently saw a massive retro-fest, when it celebrated 30 years of TopWare Interactive by revisiting much of its back-catalogue, temporarily bringing back much-loved games like Jagged Alliance 2, Two Worlds and Earth 2160.

Building for the esports future

Fuelled by its passion for taking e-sports to the next level, Kinguin is building the Esports Performance Centre in Warsaw. With the likes of training and analysis spaces, rooms for rest and recreation, a bar, a photographic studio and a gym across its four floors, it will also boast its own psychologist, physiotherapist and professional chef.

Plus the Esports Performance Centre will double up as a venue for live esports events along with conferences and panels. It looks destined to become East-Central Europe’s most significant permanent hub for esports, and Kinguin envisages it injecting a new level of professionalism into the esports scene.

So if you previously thought Kinguin.net was just another retail games website, now you know it is that and an awful lot more besides. Esports pioneer and major player, champion of indie developers, Kinguin is harnessing its passion for games and thereby becoming a major player in the industry.