Impulse Gamer Interviews CEO/President of Archon Underground DERRIC POLLARD - -

Impulse Gamer Interviews CEO/President of Archon Underground DERRIC POLLARD

Welcome to Impulse Gamer Derric.

Tell us about your company Archon?

Archon is a true lifestyle brand rooted in the Gamer industry.  Thatís our business tag line, but I created Archon to be so much more.  Gaming is fun, cool, and what everyone is playing and we want to show that.  Archon is about the passion gamers have around the world for all things gaming related and showing that Gam3rs can have a style and brand for themselves.  Archon is an attitude and state of mind: Honor, Respect, Competition, Community. 

In a lot of ways we are breaking the mold for gamer clothing. Right now, in the mass market, a ďgamer shirtĒ is either a licensed image, an insider gamer joke, or a literal image of a game controllerÖand thatís about it. Who decided to pigeon hole gamer gear into such a narrow definition? Itís time we, as Gam3rs, had a brand that represented us in the same way that surfers have Hurley, skaters have Volcom or mixed martial artists have Tapout.  Gaming has evolved and we want to show that through our gear.  Like our tag line says ďClothing for the Gamer Evolution.Ē

We are also very focused on expanding the awareness of and promotion for Esports. We are developing jerseys that will be easy for team to customize and we want to make these the standard across all Esports.

What inspired you to create Archon?

It actually started with a suggestion from a friend.  He called me up a few years ago to talk about doing a gamer clothing line.  The idea at the time was to do something fun with one-liner game references or jokes.  Iíve always been entrepreneurial minded and Iíve been a gamer all my life so I was very interested and said I would think about it. 

I thought about how many brands are out there right now that already represent the Geek/Nerd side of Gamer lifestyle like Jinx and Insert Coin who are both great brands.  I realized I wanted to make something that represented Gamers and the gaming industry in a different way.   Many of my friends and Gamers around the world see gaming as an awesome pastime that can bring friends together, send us on amazing adventures, throw us into the heat of combat and live out stories deeper than most Hollywood movies these days . . . and itís just a great way to blow off steam sometimes.  I decided I wanted to create something that would change the old gamer stereotype of someone living in their Motherís basement with no social skills.  We are so much more than that now and we are everywhere.

When someone sees a Hurley or Tapout shirt, two things come to mind: 1) You instantly think of surfing or MMA and 2) You know itís an awesome, quality brand.  We, as Gamers, donít have that.  If I see a shirt that references a game, I recognize that it as a gaming shirt, but unless I know who made it there is little for me to see as brand recognition and anyone else who isnít a Gamer has no idea what it is. 

I wanted to create a brand of high quality custom clothes that is born of Gamer passion that can be recognized around the world.  Archon will be that brand.  Very soon when people see an Archon shirt they will know those same 2 things I mentioned earlier: 1) Our shirts represent the Gamer community and 2) Quality, awesome brand.

Obviously you are a gamer, what facets of this do you bring to Archon?

Well I try to bring everything about me to Archon.  I can be like a big kid a lot and I think life is a lot more fun that way.  I have been able to balance (for the most part) my gaming life with the rest of everything I love to do.  Iím a snowboarder, I go to the gym, get out with my friends, run a business, Iím about to become a father and there are a lot of gamers out there like myself that are not just gamers and that is what I want to bring to Archon.  Gamers are also surfers, skaters, snowboarders, hackers, coders, etc. and gaming is our way of unwinding or hanging out at the end of the day. 

Whatís your favourite genre?

I love playing from the 3rd person perspective as I feel more connected to the characters and the action so Iíd have to say that is my favorite.  After that would be FPS, Horror, Adventure, RPG, RTS . . . there really isnít a genre I havenít played that I donít really love depending on the game. 

What are your favourite games?

This is a difficult question because I am a fan of so many games on every system. Gears of War is definitely one of my favorite all time series, but there is just so much that I love.  For example, right now Iím playing Diablo 3, League of Legends, Max Payne 3, Skyrim and Assassins Creed Revelations . . . and I still have a ton of games I havenít finished yet like Dragon Age II, and Red Dead Redemption.  Hell, I still have to finish Metal Gear Solid 4 because I was almost done with that a while back when my PS3 completely crapped out and I lost everything.  Itís taken me time to work through it again just because there in now so much else to play.  Now, all that is when Iím not playing multiplayer for Gears of War 3, Mass Effect 3, Modern Warfare 3, ect . . . itís amazing I get anything done sometimes.  Plus, I canít wait for some of the games announced at E3 like Gears of War: Judgment, Dead Space 3, The Last of Us, and Watch Dogs to name a few.

Tell us how E-Sports and Archon are working together

Right now we are just working our way into the E-Sports world.  We have some big plans for ways we see the growth of E-Sports moving in this country and around the world.  E-Sports have been around in one form or another for more than 20 years.  In the last decade, weíve seen more and more organized events usher in crowds in the tens of thousands, in addition to internet viewers in the hundreds of thousands.  E-sports are still in their ďnoobieĒ stage though, but they are making huge strides each year with organizations like Major League Gaming, the GESL, Dreamhack and many others.

We see Esports being one of the biggest movements in the next 5 years . . . it just has to be done properly.  We have our own ideas of what that means and weíve talked to many Pro Esports athletes who agree that changes need to be made that arenít in order to get Esports to the next level.  If they can make a bunch of people sitting around a table playing cards in World Series of Poker into an international phenomenon, then professional gaming should be easy once done correctly.  There is a hell of a lot more activity to watch in Esports.

What is the proudest achievement from working at Archon?

Well we are new so we are very proud of getting Archon up and running.  It has been a long road and a lot of learning to get where we are.  We set out to create a brand of high quality clothes rooted in the Gam3r life and we have done that and more.  We wanted to make sure our product was the best it can be without charging an arm and a leg for it.  As Gam3rs we expect the best from developers for the games they release, why should we expect anything less from the gear we wear?  Also, itís pretty exciting every time I see new person wearing Archon; whether itís an average joe like me, a major pro gamer, or celebrity, I love knowing Archon is a brand they feel represents them.

Why do you think gaming has moved into the mainstream?

I think there are a number of factors that have moved gaming mainstream.  One of those is that Gam3rs like me are among the first generation of kids who grew up with video games as part of their daily lives.  Most of us never lost that passion for the fun we had playing games and with how far technology and stories for games have come, itís only drawn in more people.

Another factor is that gaming has become extremely accessible to anyone and everyone.  Even those who never thought theyíd be playing video games (Iím talking to all you players of Angry Birds and other mobile device games . . . you are gamers too) now are playing them every day.  Add to all that the celebrity endorsements, seeing people on reality shows playing, massive marketing campaigns and itís impossible to deny that gaming is everywhere we go and itís only getting bigger. 

Tell us about the Archon Legion?

The Archon Legion is both the growing fan base as well as the name of the Pro Team we will be developing within our own community, the Archon Underground.   The Legion represents the idea that although we may come from different backgrounds, countries, religions, economic statuses, jobs, educations or whatever, we all share a common passion for gaming.  Professional or amateur, casual or hardcore, we can all connect over games.  We want fans of the clothes, the team and the vision to feel as one massive community that can connect, share ideas, tips, tricks, other interests in a respectful method.

What are some of the products that you would recommend to gamers?

Well I havenít been asked to officially endorse any items (guess Iím not celebrity status enough yet), but there are a few things out there I have tried or Iím looking forward to trying. 

I have been using the G155 from Project GAEMS.  Simply put, itís a suitcase for your console with a built in LCD screen.  This is an awesome device for gamers who are putting together LAN events or just going to a friendís house to play and if youíre a console based Esports Athlete then you MUST have this. 

What about official licensed products?

We do have plans to team with developers on projects and new ways to create limited edition items.  Also, when we enter into licensing or partnerships with developers weíd like to do it in a different way than you are used to seeing right now. Rather than simply taking a literal image or character from a game weíd like our future licensing products to be more design driven. This means shirts would be ďcool designs inspired by the gamesĒ rather than just a simple screen print of a game image. In every aspect of the Archon brand we are trying to increase the quality of what is delivered to gamers.

We also have some top secret ideas weíve never seen done by others.  These will be ways to set us apart from the pack and create something for the developersí fans and communities as well.  Like I said, weíre all about spreading the gaming passion.    There are a lot of things weíre excited about that we havenít seen done by anyone else and we canít wait to grow and get those ideas on the fans.

What does the future hold for Archon?

The future is huge for Archon and there really is no limit to what we can do.  We have so many ideas on how we want to impact the gaming community and change the image of todayís Gamer that is still held by the general public.  Specifically, we are looking at more Pro-gamer sponsorships, event/competition sponsorships, expanding the clothing line, more get-togethers for local Archons, partnerships with like-minded gaming companies and developers, and on from there.  There is no brand out there like us and we are just getting started.  We wonít rest until Archon is a global name for gaming, E-sports and lifestyle brands.

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