I’ll be honest, I do watch sports, probably now more than ever, but I don’t watch the typical “sports” that you’re likely thinking of. Yes, I know tonight is opening night for football, but I don’t watch football, baseball, soccer, hockey, okay sometimes I watch basketball but usually only when it’s crunch time. So you might think that I just don’t like sports. I also felt like I was probably someone who wasn’t that into sports until eSports became a thing, now I find myself watching eSports more than I would have ever expected.
If you haven’t watched eSports I’ll tell you that you likely won’t get into it until you start playing one of the popular eSports games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, Overwatch, IRL, Overwatch, and yes, the list goes on. For me the game that peaked my interest in eSports was DOTA 2. As someone who has always enjoyed strategy games like Chess, I find DOTA 2 is like Chess on steroids, more moves, more characters, and a lot more complex scenarios to think through, in short – it’s a mind fuck.
Seriously, it is, as are many of the new eSports that challenge players to think more moves ahead than you ever would in a game of chess and require lightning fast reflexes. Sure, you might not be showing off your physical might but you absolutely are sporting some serious mental dexterity in combination with keyboard and mouse movement that is up their with what a concert pianist goes through.
Okay, enough about gaga I am about eSports, let’s talk about the subject of this post – a new arena, in LA, dedicated to eSports. The arena is being created by Blizzard, the game studio behind hit eSports games like Starcraft and Overwatch and of course Warcraft III which is what inspired both League of Legends and DOTA 2. It’s a lot smaller than a typical sporting arena seating only 450 people but it will include practice facilities, two control rooms, and of course – a gift shop full of Blizzard merchandise because just like you buy your sports jersey at a football game, you buy your eSports swag at a DOTA 2 tournament.
“We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment,” said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard chief executive and co-founder, in a written statement. “As we open the doors of Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and welcome fans from around the world, we’re honored to bring the best in Blizzard esports to the same stage that some of the biggest names in entertainment have called home.” (Source – Forbes)
The arena is scheduled to open the first week in October and will host a series of championship eSports competitions. I know what you’re thinking now…”Morgan – are you going to actually go to this arena and watch people play video games?” And my answer is – “no” – I’m going to go there to watch them compete at eSports. This is a great move by Blizzard, it’s going to not only help grow their brand but help grow eSports as a whole. I can’t wait to watch some amazing tournaments in the arena and think we’ll see a lot more of these eSports-specific arenas and stadiums popping up all over the US.