San Francisco is loaded with inspiration. Head into the city from any direction and incredible vistas sprawl out in every direction. If you’ve never been to the Bay Area, San Francisco sits on a fog-shrouded peninsula, surrounded on 3 sides by ocean and bays: the Bay Bridge spans to the east, and the iconic rusty-orange Golden Gate pours out to the north. Facing west is a California classic: a sprawling ocean sunset. In the midst of all the natural beauty, man-made skyscrapers from this century and last reach ever upwards. Our neighborhood is called SOMA (South of Market), and it’s home to many of the city’s museums, to the headquarters of several major software and Internet companies, and to the Moscone Conference Center where GDC is held every year.
It’s such a hodgepodge of old and new: relics and remnants from times past stretching to the Gold Rush in 1848 to 1906 give the newer tech-industry infused glass and chrome buildings some juxtaposition. Remembering your past as you look to the future, as it were. It’s one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the United States, culturally, ethnically. It’s a destination for all walks of life– tourism is our 2nd largest industry. It’s been a beacon of change, a spot to come to when you’re looking to innovate and challenge the status-quo, to grow and learn, and to really see what’s possible in the world.
It is for all of these reasons, and more too numerous to recall at present, that ASTRO Gaming has made San Francisco it’s home. We walk out the door and feel inspired. You’ve heard the phrase “all good things must come to an end.” At ASTRO, we are currently very present to how real those words are. In a few short days, we’ll be leaving our current location at 655 4th Street in the South of Market neighborhood and headed to some new digs just over a half a mile away. The Crew is busy packing up their desks and memories and sorting through old piles of stuff as we write this. While we’re really excited for what this move means for the company, it is a bittersweet time for many—especially for the Crew members who have been coming to this location for several years.
With any major event like moving, there are lots of fond memories attached to good times. Before we moved into our 4th Street location, the space was used as an auto repair shop. Oil spills still dot the polished concrete floors. Shortly after the first initial phase of having walls being built out, the interior of the new office was cavernous and felt full of possibility. As we expanded and added to the team back in the early days, we had more reason to add more walls. I am 8 Bit came in and generously painted incredibly vivid murals all over the brand new white walls. We wish we could take them with us when we move; they will have to live on in photographs.
We threw all kinds of events in this space. The ASTRO HQ Launch Party in 2012 definitely set the tone for future events in a major way: partners, streamers, influences and industry folks all stopped in to help us break in the new office space. We loved throwing events in this space– the front doors open up and let in tons of light and fresh air, and in the warmer months, there’s nothing better than that. From celebrating new product launches to joining in the fray when gaming conventions come to town, all the way to Meet and Greet sessions with our favorite eSports teams, we loved having the ASTRO Family celebrate successes with us.
While events punctuated life here at ASTRO HQ, gaming is at the core of what we do here. So, we do lots of it at the office. Whether it’s testing our new products, or just team building with our co-workers, gaming sessions are a daily occurrence and we always make time to balance work and play. We know how fortunate to work in the gaming industry. We feel like big kids sometimes, because we get to talk about a source of joy and entertainment (video games!) for a living. So it’s small wonder that we foster an environment to help cultivate passion, community, and connection. As a part of that environment, Crew member’s kids come by and game and help us out on our 24 Hour Charity Streams. We also love animals, and Crew dogs Sake and Hank are frequent visitors at the office.
We hold the ASTRO Family as one of the most important things we do here, regardless of what we’re doing at our desks.We love hanging out together. We love our community. We love our industry. One of the best things about our company is that we’re more than merely co-workers: we’re family. We hang out together, we game together, we work together, and we support one another. We’re sad to be leaving behind such a great space where we all grew up, in a sense. But like anything, change is inevitable, and we’re happy to move on to bigger and better things.