The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the biggest tech and video game companies in the world, so it's only natural that it would have a robust competitive gaming scene. Some of the greatest eSport gamers in the world call the region home, like Sumail Hassan (Suma1L) of Alameda, for instance. Professional gamers like him have been making thousands and in some cases even millions of dollars playing titles like League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, and more. eSports have rapidly become a multimillion dollar industry, so it's surprising to think that it's taken so long for a proper video game arena to get built in the area.
By Robert Marrujo:: Thankfully, the minds behind eSports Arena of Santa Ana have turned their attention to Oakland's Jack London Square for Northern California's first pro gaming facility. The structure is set to be a spacious 16,000 square feet and capable of hosting up to 1,000 spectators. The facility itself is gorgeous; a stunning symphony of reflective glass not far from the equally beautiful Jack London Square Amtrak station. It's an arena befitting of the status that eSports are quickly beginning to garner on a national and international level, right in the heart of one of the major metropolitan centers of the United States.
For professional gamers, however, the Oakland eSports Arena is a veritable beacon of hope. Along with Blizzard's recently announced Overwatch League, facilities such as this are providing legitimate venues for video game players to stake their claim as professionals. Countless fans around the world have dedicated their lives to playing games, but the ability to make a proper living from doing so remains a distant dream to anyone who isn't actively developing the software itself. The Oakland eSports Arena is set to make a huge impact for these budding pro gamers if all goes according to plan.
The Oakland eSports Arena is being spearheaded by four people: John Todd Christensen, Tyler Endres, Paul Ward, and Sam Ward. The quartet form the core of the nominal eSports Arena Southern California startup company that has partnered with five gaming/entertainment companies located in China to fund the Oakland development as well as its SoCal venture. So far, the Santa Ana eSports Arena has seen great success, luring in countless players for a myriad of different events centered around popular titles like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and more. With their sights set on creating more of these arenas on an international scale, one thing is clear: eSports are only trending upwards.
What Christensen, Endres, and the Ward brothers seem to have realized ahead of everyone else is that as eSports become more and more legitimized, so too must the venues these events take place in. NBA games aren't played on cracked asphalt with chain nets, after all, and neither is a PGA tour held at the local links off the freeway. Both players, fans, and sponsors will be more likely to attend and support these eSports competitions if proper facilities like the ones in Santa Ana and Oakland are maintained and promoted. This means bigger cash prizes and, hopefully, the development of other leagues anchored around specific games in the model of the aforementioned Overwatch League.
Oakland's eSports Arena was originally slated for a late 2016-early 2017 opening, but as of this writing it has yet to be opened. The following statement can be found on eSports Arena's official website:
Esports Arena Oakland is moving at a rapid pace towards opening this year. We were delayed earlier this year due to unforeseen circumstances but those problems have been solved. We can't wait to bring an unparalleled esports and gaming venue to the bay area. Check back here for more updates and follow us on twitter.
Keep it posted to Binx.guru for more on the impending opening of this facility!
About Robert Marrujo: A Senior Editor for Nintendojo.com and an Editor for San Leandro News. A lifelong Bay Area resident, you can usually find him puttering around writing, drawing, or playing video games. Check him out on Instagram @robert_marrujo!