Seriously, it’s Las Vegas. There are millions of square feet of space available for conventions and tournaments. There are somewhere near 150,000 hotel rooms in Vegas. Flights into Las Vegas are some of the cheapest you’ll find, with flights being 1.5 hours or less. You can drive to Vegas from pretty much anywhere in the Southwestern United States in about five hours. The centralized location of The Strip allows people to get from hotel to venues easily. *Little known fact — you can get anywhere in Las Vegas in 20 minutes.
I saw a professional gamer lamenting the price of food on The Strip the other day. I get it. It can be expensive; you can dine at a 3-Star Michelin restaurant operated by the “highest ranked chef in the world,” Joël Robuchon, or, you can eat street tacos. There’s authentic Sushi or Korean BBQ in Chinatown. You can sample international cuisine ranging from cheap to lavish at any of the hotels, chains, mom & pop shops, etc. Want $3.99 steak and eggs at midnight? Throw a rock, and you’ll find several casinos with midnight breakfast deals. Don’t get stuck on the idea that you have to eat on The Strip. You can find quality food to fit your budget…you just have to look. Like I said, you can get anywhere in Las Vegas in 20 minutes. Grab an Uber or a Lyft and go get some food.
3) eSport Arenas.
Las Vegas currently has two top notch eSport arenas: The Esports Arena in the Luxor Hotel and Casino and the Millennial Esports Arena in the Neonopolis.
- The brand new arena in the Luxor works to attract locals, tourists, and big name gamers such as Ninja and Dr. Lupo. It has comfortable seating, two bars, a restaurant, and plenty of space to compete. According to their website, “The 30,000-square-foot, multilevel arena is designed to host every form of competitive gaming, from daily play to high-stakes eSports tournaments, and features a competition stage, 50-foot LED video wall, telescopic seating, PC and console gaming stations, and a network TV-quality production studio.” They aren’t lying. From the time you walk in, it’s impressive and comfortable. It’s a great venue for tournaments. https://www.esportsarenavegas.com
- The Millennial Esports Arena in the Neonopolis has taken a different approach— it is generally closed to the public. However, they are available for large or small-scale events. A Team OF professionals are available for customizing events at a great value. The arena offers a large space for tournaments, easy customization of space, and theater seating. Their website boasts that “thE Arena at Neonopolis is Las Vegas’s first permanent Esports venue. The 15,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility accommodates more than 1000 people in comfort and provides technical services including facilities, expertise, and manpower for clients such as EA, Amazon, and Microsoft.” https://www.millennialesports.com
4) Gaming Lounges.
Gaming lounges are popping up like crazy in Las Vegas. Here are a handful of cool venues:
- Game Nest. Conveniently located in Chinatown just a few minutes from The Strip. It offers console gaming and free play arcade games, with a special focus on Asian rhythm games and imported Japanese cabinets. Always clean and comfortable with amazing places to eat right next door. There are weekly tournaments for Smash Bros. and other games. The venue is relaxed and comfortable with tons of friendly employees. http://www.gamenestlv.com/
- The Dojo Training Ground. This venue is a bit off the beaten path, but worth the trip. They are setup like a typical Korean PC Bang (pronounced Pea-She Bong) with a focus on PC gaming. Clean, sleek, and minimal…just like a dojo should be. The Dojo is actively seeking teams to become “residents.” The UNLV Overwatch team has set up shop here and I’m sure more will come. They run a weekly Battle Royale tournament on Saturdays and are looking to do more with the local community. https://www.thedojoesports.com/
- Wolf and Lamb. This is a “mom & pop” venue. (More to come on that). The space has PCs, consoles, and a board game/card game section. The staff is amazingly friendly, and they “really want guests to feel like family.” They are the only venue that I’ve seen that offers a one-time membership fees for super discounted prices, a level up system for rewards, and weekly gaming “quests.” They’re also starting to run various PC and console tournaments. http://wolfandlamblv.com/
- Press Start Gaming Center. Another venue close to The Strip. This space has a good mix of arcade, PC, and console games and caters mainly to UNLV students. They run weekly FGC tournaments and super laid-back. http://www.psglv.com/
- PvP Zone. Your typical PC Bang with more than 30 PCs lining the space. They are directly connected to Jackie Bee Boba Express. Gamers can pick up Thai food and bring it over. The venue is near the CSN Charleston campus, operates 24/7, and caters mainly to CSN students. http://pvpzonelv.com/
- Gorilla Cafe. This is a unique place. It’s part billiards/eSports with pool tables, PCs, and PS3s. Because it’s a bar, you can drink and smoke inside so it caters to a more adult crowd who aren’t so serious about gaming. https://www.gorilla-cafe.com/
- The Wall Gaming Lounge in the Rio Hotel & Casino. This is a brand-new location in phase 1 of 3 in its construction. You can find a full review of this venue at www.esportsinlasvegas.com. It is as close to an Esports Bar & Lounge that I’ve seen. The H1Z1 League players regularly stream from this location; it has stream setups and is comfortable. It will be a pretty amazing place for both locals and tourists.
- GameWorks. Located south of The Strip on Las Vegas Blvd. This is your standard GameWorks location with bar, restaurant, bowling, tons and tons of arcade games, and an Esports Gaming Center. GameWorks has been actively working with Esports organizers to bring weekly tournaments to the venue. They want to create something special and are looking for a big hook.
- Dave & Busters. I’m still waiting to see if Dave & Busters will take the approach of GameWorks and try to use its name to host eSport events in Las Vegas. For now, it’s a standard arcade located in the Downtown Summerlin Mall with no real connection to eSports…but the potential is there.
Over the last ten years, thanks to the success of the San Diego Comic Con, PAX, CES and the general embrace of Geek Culture, more and more conventions have popped up. Anime, Cartoon, Comic, Video Game, Board Game…you name it, and it has a convention. A lot of these conventions are starting to embrace video game tournaments and eSports. We’re going to see many more conventions in Las Vegas that will be entertaining ways to incorporate eSports into their events.
If you want to get to Las Vegas on a budget, you can. Compared to other cities, hotel rooms are pretty cheap when you compare what you get for what you pay. Even if you Air BnB it somewhere off The Strip, it’s quick and easy to get back for tournaments. So, don’t be afraid to stay off The Strip. Locations such as the Red Rock Casino, The Suncoast Hotel, South Point, and Silverton Hotel offer up great amenities and deals for great prices. Just do your research and book in advance. Sometimes it’s worth being old-fashioned and calling to see if you can haggle a deal on a multi-night stay. You can always pay a little extra, bring a couple friends and stay at a world-class hotel such as The Venetian, the Bellagio, The Wynn, The Aria, or The Cosmopolitan. One thing to remember is that you have a choice. It’s not like other cities where you’re going to have trouble meeting your needs, in Las Vegas you can go as big or as small as you want.
You’ll never find a more convenient city in the world. Trust me, I’ve tried. You want to drink all night; you want to dance all night; you want to eat all night; you need to buy a toothbrush at 3AM; Las Vegas has you covered. The old slogan, “The city that never sleeps” is legit. You can do, get, or see anything you want at pretty much any time of the day. Staying on The Strip, and don’t want to Uber or walk? Take the Tram. It comes every 15 minutes and runs from 7AM – 2AM every day. Get deals on all day passes or multi-day passes for less than an Uber ride. Don’t want to spend that much on a Tram, take “The Deuce” — Las Vegas’ own double-decker bus that runs up and down The Strip. They also arrive every 15 minutes and have deals on 24 hour passes or multi-days and also run from 7AM – 2 AM. Hell, in most cases, you’re going to be close enough that you could probably walk…or factor in the cost of Uber, Tram, etc. and see if it’s cheaper to stay in the hotel where your tournament is taking place. Also, don’t forget to see if your hotel offers free rides to and from the airport. Most of them do, they might also offer free shuttles to The Strip.
Duh…this is Las Vegas. A city grown out of the desert to entertain people. Make your tournament a vacation. You like comedy, plays, dancing, musicals, concerts, or, maybe, kitschy Zombie Burlesque shows? Then, go catch a show! There are cheap and/or free amazing shows from discount ticket places or online booking sites. Explore a bit. There are weird, wild, WTF places such as The Mafia Museum or The Pinball Hall of Fame. Grand Canyon helicopter rides are a great escape from the city if you want. Are you a thrill seeker? Then, race exotic sports cars at Speed Vegas or Dream Racing. If you like the outdoors, hike Red Rock Canyon. If none of these pique your interest, what about watching a Golden Knights game…you can even watch them practice. The Raiders will be here soon, and the Las Vegas Aces kicked off their inaugural season in the WNBA so there will be even more to do soon.
The City and State are working to make eSports and eSports gambling as iconic and integral to Las Vegas as the slot machine. There are numerous organizations, like the Nevada eSports Alliance (check out Episode 24 of my podcast to hear more about them) and the LVCVA who are working with experts, academics, eSports teams, etc. to make sure eSports teams, players, and leagues have everything they need at their fingertips to make Las Vegas the premiere “eSport destination.”
The city, casinos, and locals have a passion for eSports, but eSports in Las Vegas is in its infancy. It requires growth, stability, and cooperation of a lot of different organizations, companies, officials, tourists, and locals to develop into the eSports Destination that it can be. The only way we can get there, though, is by showing up, helping out, offering advice, and working together to make sure that all the venues and players prosper. This means discounting hotel prices or tournament registration fees, working with travel sites for deals, and talking with officials (both state and local) to figure out how best to work with organizations, corporations, and individuals for the greater good of the city.
You can listen to Beyond Beta Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, or Spotify, and check out my progress in eSports at www.BeyondBetaPodcast.com. You can follow me on Twitter @SteveJShockey, or follow the YouTube channel Beyond Beta Podcast.
Steve “ShockSmash” Shockey
Credit: Source link