8 Reasons Driving Opportunities in Esports Arenas for System Integrators and Designers
The esports industry is growing in leaps and bounds along many trajectories including viewership, revenue, branding, gaming live streaming audience, the number of platforms offering live esports coverage, earnings in esports tournaments, and esports arenas. System integrators and designers of AV solutions have a huge opportunity to support innovative implementations for those designing and opening esports arenas.
- Esports Arenas Trending at Universities, Colleges, and K-12 Institutions
It’s a major trend at universities, colleges, and even K-12 institutions to install esports systems to support their students and student athletes. Esports arena managers have a list of goals for their installations, including an academic aspect, a competitive aspect, a research aspect, and a social aspect. The goal also included teaching goals so that competitors and professors could work with other students to learn about esports. Click here to see the UNC Esports Areas case study when UNC wanted to create a healthy esports environment and to reduce the stigma around gaming.
- Esports Facility Managers Need IT and AV Support
Many of the people that run esports arenas are professors or teaching assistants. They’re not IT people, they’re not networking people, and they’re not AV people! They need professional help to design and install these solutions. The also needs these applications to be compatible with their existing network and easily supported by their IT organization. This is true about installations for K-12, college, and university environments. These institutions also demand that their IT administrator be able to control, form, and meet policy requirements related to the arena.
- Esports Environments Demand Limited or No Latency
Events held in esports arenas need to be treated just like any other sporting event. The crowd needs to see what actions competitors are taking in real time. It would be very strange to have a crowd reacting to something that happened seconds after a competitor takes an action.
- Esports Installations Need for Flexibility and Expandability Is Huge
Most of these arenas are currently startups, deploying 20 to 30 screens. The vision is to grow and move to larger venues in the future. It will be key for future growth for organizations to leverage installed technology to add endpoints to sources and displays and with very quick deployment turnaround time.
In terms of flexibility, the solutions require the full video gaming experience be brought to audience and the spectators. Multiview capabilities are very important when engaging in head-to-head competitions and reaching the finish line. The ability to create a multiview and/or cast that multiview up onto a video wall is imperative. Audio is also essential in the mix. Games are not games without audio, try playing your favorite game on mute sometime. It’s just not the same experience!
- Esports Experiences Needs to Be Controlled by Multiple Stakeholders
One of the key questions that the customer building the esports arena will have for system integrators and designers is “how do we control the environment?” And the expanded question is not only do we control with push buttons, send commands or other solutions, but how do we make it controllable by the student population, the competitors, and the coaches. The answer is it needs to be really, really simple. One example is the approach used at UNC’s esports arena installation. An SDVoE or the MCX technology leverages an API that can be easily controlled by any external control system. This makes it easy to develop control overlays, send commands, create drag and drops, or pull-down list among other options. For people that are going to actually use this system, this approach enables basically no learning curve.
- Esports Encourages Social Interaction
Institutions building esports arenas want to bring that social and collaborative aspect of online gaming to live events. For example, the University of North Carolina has set up an on-campus gaming community. They’ve created a lounge to engage students—including those who may have never done any kind of gaming—students can enter a spectator area, sit down, watch, learn, and interact with the esports competition. It’s a very social environment.
- Esports Is the Intersection of Aesthetics and Technology
Esports venues are very different than traditional sports. As these systems are designed, it is key that the customer, integrator, and designer really understand how participants of these events want to consume content and connect with competitors. It is also important to understand how they want to manipulate video. Every esports venue has slightly different requirements for example: a venue may want to distribute video to a number of screens, provide side-by-side or head-to-head video of competitors or bring in video from every competitor. There may be a need mix video and audio into what’s distributed out so all participants can see competitor’s faces and hear audio. This requires that output from gaming rigs or consoles gets onto the network.
Spectators of events may want to tune into individualized channels. Sometimes spectators maybe sitting in the stands with cell phones in their hand and earbuds listening to their favorite competitor, or head-to-head or whatever it is that they want to tune into.
Aesthetics are also an important aspect of esports facilities. Technology is being built into the aesthetics, such as logos with displays in an architectural type arrangement, neon lighting, apparatus that moves—maybe retracts into the ceiling, and even lighting control. Many traditional skillsets of system integrators are important considerations with esports design.
- Next Steps for System Integrators and Designers
The SDVoE Alliance suggests the first step is to assess and research all your areas of expertise. Use that expertise to support the esports industry and the installation of esports arenas. Maybe become an expert in a very specific part of this whole arena experience: the live production facilities, the broadcasting, the streaming, and the video distribution element of the technology.
This blog was adapted from SDVoE LIVE! S2 Episode 12: SDVoE in Esports. Watch the on-demand episode.
Esports in the news
Visit SDVoE Academy for the on-demand episode and read about related news.
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