Mentioned in this article
- Fortress Esports has announced its first venue, Fortress Melbourne, targeting a March 2020 launch date.
- Fortress has partnered with Allied Esports Entertainment, the company behind HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas.
- The company aims to launch further esports venues in the future.
A new esports venue startup has announced the launch of what will be the largest esports venue in the southern hemisphere. Fortress Melbourne has announced it has begun construction on a multi-level facility in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, with a range of zoned areas to suit various esports and gaming uses.
The announcement states that Fortress Melbourne will have a footprint of 2,700 square meters (29,000 square feet), putting it on a similar scale to the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas. In fact, Fortress Esports, the company behind the new Melbourne venue, has formed a partnership with Allied Esports Entertainment, the organization that runs the Las Vegas stadium. Fortress says the deal gives them access to Allied Esports Entertainment’s expert knowledge as well as global event integration opportunities.
Co-founder of Fortress Melbourne, Adrian Giles, is a digital industry investor with a background in game development. He is also Chairman of ORDER, a Melbourne-based esports organization with teams across League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Street Fighter V. Most recently, ORDER won the Overwatch Contenders Australia Season 2 final at the Melbourne Esports Open.
Giles explained to The Esports Observer that the Fortress team has been consulting with a wide range of Australian esports communities to understand what they would want such a venue to be.
“Even this morning we had a meeting,” says Giles. “We put together a small advisory board of all the different people from the different groups that we think would be customers of the venue. The customer experience is the most important thing. We want people who love games to feel at home here.”
The venue will feature a mix of spaces across multiple levels: the core 200-seat esports arena for major events with an esports bar alongside; a separate tavern-style bar for relaxing and playing tabletop games; a LAN gaming lounge; a high-performance training area for serious teams to boot camp; console gaming suites for small groups to game together; broadcast, production and streaming facilities; and a private function room for event bookings.
The main 200-seat arena is also designed so the seats are retractable, allowing the space to be used as an open 40 PC LAN area when the stage is not in use, maximizing the utilization of space when major events are not taking place.
While Gfinity Esports Australia recently announced its closure after a focus on events hosted in a converted cinema space, Giles says that Fortress feels the time is right to combine an entertainment venue where people can socialize over games or participate in competition.
“Our calendar of events is really important. Having a diversity and being able to have events that are applicable for all the different audiences within the gaming world,” says Giles. “A MOBA player might not be interested in shooters and vice versa. So we want to make sure there is a highly curated set of competitions and events that are being run every day, multiple times a day.”
Fortress Melbourne is expected to open its doors in March 2020, with plans to launch further venues in future for other cities across Australia and New Zealand as well as potentially on a smaller scale in other suburban areas.
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