There’s news from Japan that could provide a glimpse into the future of esports-dedicated locales. One of the leading games companies in the world, Konami, announced plans to build a brand new bespoke esports venue in Tokyo.
This new esports-specific building will be known as the Konami Creative Center. It is reportedly set to house an entire esports arena, a specialist shop with hardware, software, and accessories, plus designated classroom areas.
The 12-story building is the latest push from Japan to improve its standing in the esports community. It also comes just a short time after Japan formed the Japanese Esports Union, which is designed to facilitate the promotion and adoption of esports across the country.
More details on the Creative Center
During the center’s brick-laying ceremony, Konami President Kimihiko Higashio, as reported at Variety.com, stated:
“The people who participate in esports will in the future stand side by side with those participating in real-life sports like soccer, or even surpass them.
“Compared to esports pioneers America and Europe, Japan has a long way to go. However, looking from another angle, it means Japan has lots of room for growth.”
The building should be completed by November and will be ready in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan next year.
A wave of lounges, studios, and arenas
Konami’s move is just the latest in a number of big-money developments. The Esports Stadium in Dallas, Texas — opened last November — is the largest in North America.
We also know the overarching wish of Overwatch League organizers Blizzard is that all its teams have their own home facilities. Right now, they play out of the same venue in California. For Season 2, there are already a handful of “homestand weekends.” The Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant, and Atlanta Reign will play their home matches that weekend at selected venues in their host city.
Of course, there are reasons esports clubs don’t all just erect their own arenas and spaces. Considering the top-line tech involved and real estate needed, costs can be prohibitive.
Certainly, as Tokyo has shown, private companies are interested in developing these facilities, but with that comes a caveat too. These companies are not going to build top-quality esports facilities and expect nothing in return. There are corporate ties and investment expectations to meet. I can’t imagine, for example, the Konami Creative Center hosting a FIFA 19 tournament, for example, given that Konami is the producer of FIFA’s biggest rival game in esports, Pro Evolution Soccer.
While such venues are sleek and cater to the idea that esports deserve their own house, almost all the top events in recent years have been hosted in theatres, conference centers, and multi-use arenas. There’s a reason, after all, that these adaptable continue to exist. They’re making money from esports now the same way they made money from classic rock acts in 1989.
But what’s the future?
Tides may still be turning, though. Esports may become an essential component of other areas of interest. In the United States, a popular golf game is adapting several of its venues to include a bespoke esports gaming facility within them.
Furthermore, we are already seeing some businesses, notably gaming shops, across the United States and the UK start to operate their own esports studios. Patrons hire a machine for a number of hours to indulge in esports on high-quality equipment.
The buildings of the future may vary, and there may well be a trial and error process. But it’s always good news when a gamer can experience their favorites in public and surrounded by a community with similar passions.
Image credit: Ken Ishii / Stringer / Getty Images