Competitive video gaming–or e-sports–is a growing phenomenon in the country and right here locally.
“A lot of people think that gamers just want to play at home,” said Aaron Gaskins, Operations Manager at Edge VR Arcade in Green Bay. “But really, we just want to squad up with our buddies.”
It’s a billion-dollar industry that continues to inflate with every button-press. Sponsors are making it possible, with schools expanding into the field along with NBA teams.
“You now have so much money being invested that ESPN made their own League of Legends whole article and side site,” he said. “So, you’ve got ESPN reporters and real legitimacy to the sport.”
Arcades are not a new idea. They have come and gone, and the moral of the story: it takes a gamer to know a gamer.
“They pop up and they go down because people try to start them up without fully understanding the culture,” said Gaskins. “You’re not going to get a ton of people in here without tournaments and leagues.”
And Edge VR is expanding just to accommodate the demand for a place to compete.
“We’re actually going to be blasting a hole in that wall and we have 1,800sq.ft. back there ready for business,” he said.
There will be room for upwards of 40 competitors vying for prize money totaling in the thousands–right here. It will all be live streamed, and with a new product comes new jobs.
“So if you’re into casting games, definitely come in, talk to me, any of the other staff,” said Gaskins. “We need casters.”
It’s a field where that continues to evolve every day.
“If it made sense, we would love to build our own arena,” he said. “I mean, really. We’re excited for anywhere this could take us. We really see the potential in this e-sports craze and we just love it.”
Edge VR’s e-sports expansion is expected to be completed by the summer.