Esports Village Concepts
Performance & Esports Venues
Our designers have been drawing up esports venue concepts for the better part of a decade. In 2013, we produced exclusive esports stadium designs for the popular tech outlet Gizmodo. Fresh off our all-encompassing work on the London 2012 Olympics, we didn’t have to squint very hard to see a future where the world of competitive gaming took on Olympic-like proportions.
Fast forward to 2017 and another round of visioning was in order. This time, our design work debuted at South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the largest creative gatherings in the world. The esports market was quickly coming of age and approaching billion-dollar revenues. North American investors were realizing what those in Asia and abroad had known for years: gamers and want to experience the sport live and together, with all the heart-thumping action of traditional sporting events.
Titled “Back to the Future: Why Esports Needs a Colosseum,” our SXSW talk gathered esports industry veterans to examine where the market was heading and discuss our latest work.
The competitive gaming audience is what every traditional sports league dreams of: young, global and diverse, with discretionary income to boot. That’s why franchises in the NBA and beyond are acquiring or starting up expansion teams. It’s also why there’s a mad dash to design the venues that create a stronghold in the market and power the next champion.
Our design thinking for SXSW focused on two paths to that goal: retrofitting existing infrastructure and building new. With the former, it’s all about adaptability. Current arenas draw sellout esports crowds upwards of 20,000, but these are equivalent to Super Bowl-level draws. How do the same facilities book smaller yet still-profitable esports regional tournaments while providing a breathtaking experience?
The answer lies not down on the arena floor, but up above in the rafters. Using new technology, we’ve designed a ceiling system that shape-shifts into various configurations and sizes based on a given event’s scale. The system creates a more intimate seating bowl for half-house and quarter-house configurations while doubling as an immersive projection canvas.
At some point in the evolution of this infrastructure, the scales will tip in favor of developing nine-figure esports facilities from scratch. Our designs for a large-scale gaming arena surrounded by – or stacked on top of – an entire Esports Village are a blueprint for this 2.0 scenario.
Taking cues from our decades of experience with mixed-use districts and their sports and entertainment anchors, we envisioned an esports neighborhood that transforms a dormant city block into a global destination. Complete with high-performance training areas, game developer labs, competition spaces, retail and even a drone racing course, the Esports Village never sleeps.
Its anchor is the custom-built Esports Arena, a facility perfectly-suited to the sport’s unique sightlines and revenue opportunities. Outside on the structure’s skin, tournaments taking place halfway around the world are projected live. Inside, a circular seating bowl creates a 360-degree stage for augmented reality and holographic content. Premium seating inventory runs the gamut from immersion pods to reactive seats that translate the exhilaration and energy of competitors into haptic feedback for spectators.
Suffice to say, it’s early days for the industry’s American renaissance. With the global esports market growing at a projected 20 percent clip each year, anything is possible. We’re already starting to see pioneering facilities open their doors, including our recently-debuted Esports Stadium Arlington. We continue to partner with owners, organizers and teams to push the esports envelope into the future.
Esports by the Numbers
- Daily Twitch Viewers
- 8.5 million
- Global Revenue by 2019
- $1 billion
- People playing esports
- 2.1 billion
- 2016 League of Legends Final Viewers
- 43 million