British presenter, gamer and entrepreneur Alhan Gencay announced the launch of a new multi-million pound business which combines “eSports, games, lifestyle and entertainment” and builds “a bridge between music culture and gaming culture”.

Everything is built around it ULTRA MIST brand, founded in 2017, a production company dedicated to music and lifestyle content. A longtime player, with a penchant for GTA— Alhan, 23, saw the opportunity to build a new platform to help unite the relatively narrow UK esports industry with the wider world of casual gamers. There is a huge market in the US, but in the UK more casual games are often overlooked by the industry, despite the huge appetite for it.

We had a quick chat with Alhan to talk about his love of gaming and how his new company hopes to change the way casual gaming is perceived.

COMPLEX: What is your background in video games? What kind of games did you grow up playing?

Alhan Gencay: I am a big gamer. Hours and hours every night. The lockdown was absolutely crazy and probably the best time of his life. If he didn’t eat or sleep, then he reappeared. Growing up, I really only played GTA franchise. Mostly GTA 3, which I played on my dad’s IBM ThinkPad. My mom bought me the PC disc at Brent Cross when I was a kid. I remember the guy behind the till telling her she shouldn’t buy a game like this for me. She told them it was for herself.

We were going on a family vacation to Turkey and in the evenings I was sitting in internet cafes playing city ​​of vice and San Andreas For hours. Truly the best games of all time. now it’s mostly war zone but still a ton of GTA. I ended up buying another Switch just to get it refreshed GTA Trilogy with me wherever I go. I also have the Oculus VR headset, it’s crazy and I’m excited to see where VR will take gaming in the near future.

Why do you think more casual games are so overlooked here in the UK?

The main problem is that there’s not much appetite to work on something bigger in the UK. There are huge eSports organizations based in London, generating significant revenue, but they just can’t resonate with a wider audience. They mostly focus on esports and ignore casual gamers and the reality is that only a very small demographic cares about competitive gaming. Some of these teams have massive headquarters in central London and people have no idea who they are. People don’t care about nerdy teenagers in front of their keyboards all day. They want to be entertained.

If we look at our American counterparts, they absolutely destroyed it, and the gaming market is super mature there. FaZe Clan recently signed Snoop Dogg should tell you everything you need to know about how exciting games can come out. 100 Thieves is also another great example; this is one of the most exciting projects I’ve seen in a while. But while these organizations and their founders come from an esports background, the brands quickly pivoted and created a lot of casual gaming-related content with artists and other talent, ultimately bridging the gap between gaming and culture. A lot of the money in the gaming world just gets pumped into eSports teams, and they burn through that money fast. Yes, they win tournaments and have talented players, but no one really cares.

What will ULTRA HAZE do to change this?

Over the past year, we have developed and implemented a state-of-the-art game studio at ULTRA HAZE’s offices in central London. We did something super special and we know it because every time people come to our office, they end up staying for hours or more playing on the systems. We have a fantastic relationship with many key artists and talents in the UK, all of whom play games, but none of them would ever have thought of streaming or working on gaming-related content.

Think of everyone you’ve always wanted to see playing games, it’s our mission to make that a reality in the UK. Shortly after launch, we’ll be announcing some super exciting signings and your favorite artists will be streaming games the way you’ve always wanted. I’ve been busy working on many other gaming projects, some of which are subject to strict NDAs, but ultimately our focus will be on casual gamers and not just eSports. The team and I have been the audience for years, so we know exactly what to create and, more importantly, what we shouldn’t create.

Outside of the game, you work closely with many British musical talents. Who have you preferred to work with so far?

The most memorable was undoubtedly the Skepta event at the Hippodrome. It was probably one of the best events and I don’t see us overtaking it anytime soon. Headie and his team are always a pleasure to work with. they’re great guys and it’s always a great time to work on content with them… But they’re always late! I worked a lot with Bandokay and we went to Jamaica several times; he entrusted me with the vision of his latest projects, and it was a real pleasure to work on them. I also spent a lot of time with Meekz, who is currently my favorite artist. I know he’s going to have a fantastic year.

What’s next for Alhan more generally?

I’ve taken some time to focus on the business side of things, but I’m ready to get back to the screens. Running a business is fun, sometimes stressful, but balancing that and doing things on screen is something I haven’t quite mastered yet. So yes, I had to take time and put everything in order. In general, however, there is a lot going on, but currently there are two projects that take up most of my time. First, and probably the most exciting thing for me, is the long-awaited return of GAZ FACTORY; there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes that people can’t see, but we’ll announce a launch date soon. The second is a new series I’m doing for a major broadcaster that will be hitting your screens in June – very happy to announce this one properly and I can’t lie, it’s hilarious.

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