As you walk in, you see epic blue and red lights illuminating either side of this impressive arena. There’s people to greet you and talk to you, and that’s when you see it: Right in front of you is a sea of 120 monster PC’s equipped with gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets. Immediately, you’re immersed in the world of gaming, and you feel right at home. If you take a trip upstairs, you find yet another beautiful image: a console center with 64 systems ready to be played. When you go back down to claim a computer, you sit down in one of the most comfortable chairs you’ll ever sit in, and you find that each station is completely modular, meaning you can tweak it to your preference and make a stamp with your signature on it. This is when you know that the eSports Arena is going to become your new home for a long, long time.
The building that the eSports Arena calls home was built in 1922, so it’s definitely an integral part of downtown Santa Ana; the only thing is, though, it has been completely reengineered into a completely modern and much bigger space.
We were able to sit down with Paul Ward, a co-founder of eSports Arena, and we found out some pretty impeccable information. Each PC is hooked up to a fiber optic connection, so there aren’t going to be any problems with the speed of your connection. Next, each PC was custom built, so you know you’ve got top-of-the-line equipment at your disposal. This is great news for anyone not fortunate enough to own a monster PC (they’re so expensive right?) because you can come to the eSports Arena and use one whenever you like. When I first walked in, my mouth dropped just from the sight of the PCs they were offering members; they are crazy. For only $12.99 a month, members have unlimited access to the arena, discounts and special offers, early access to special events, access to member-only events, and, ultimately, a new place to call home. Also, when you’re not in the mood to play games, there’s a nice, relaxing lounge area for you to rest and socialize. We were told that eSports Arena is going to be setting up leagues for different games, so if you love to play Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, or any other game of this nature, make sure to join a league and compete! There’s a beautiful 5v5 setup on the main stage with a massive projector in the middle so that epic matches can be had and recorded.
Paul and his buddies at eSports Arena all grew up together with a passion for video games, most being inspired by Bungie’s massively successful Halo series. It wasn’t until they were all in college that their dream became somewhat tangible. They set out on a quest to see if their dream was achievable, and what they found was that it could become a reality. They found the building in November of 2013 and found support in the form of backers, building owners, their families, and their own communities of friends. The team behind eSports Arena has a dream to give developers a platform, so that people who want to be the next Riot Games of Blizzard can have the opportunity to have a voice in the gaming community. They want to create a community for people to be a part of – a place where gamers alike can come and have a safe haven to talk about games, play games, and live their fantasies.
The wide array of special events and tournaments that eSports Arena is going to be offering will catch the eye of any type of gamer, whether you’re casual or hardcore. Super Smash Sundays will without-a-doubt bring in a crowd of gamers to relax and play one of the most fun games ever created (I mean, what’s more fun that knocking out Link as an Ice Climber?). eSports Arena recently hosted an event on October 3rd, which was a Counter Strike tournament where the grand prize was $100,000 (and Brian Kibler, a huge celebrity in the world of Hearthstone, hosted it). There are sure to be lots of other really cool events for members to attend in the future, which I am really looking forward to. Another great feature that eSports Arena is offering is a corner called the Locals Menu, which offers a list of nearby restaurants, bars, and entertainment opportunities for those who are unfamiliar with the immediate area. They’re also partnering with some local restaurants so that members can gain special benefits.
The daily competitions and broadcasts (you can find them on Twitch too), weekly leagues, world class events, 120 PCs, 64 consoles, epic arena, and awesome environment are unlike anything I have ever seen, and I know that gamers who journey to this video game Mecca will find everything they are looking for when they think about a video game community.
The arena is located in the perfect setting: right in the middle of L.A. and San Diego. It’s going to boast premium content for its members to have access to, and the arena is going to create an experience that your typical LAN center will never be able to achieve. The team behind the eSports Arena isn’t trying to replace the experience behind playing at home, but they are giving players the option to have a safe, welcoming – and let’s be honest, really freaking cool – place to go to when the need arises. Paul and his friends hope to eventually have their eSports Arena be a place where games can be launched, which would undoubtedly be awesome. Once things get going, they’re also going to be making teams for certain games and sending them out to compete and represent the arena.
Personally, I had a blast in the few hours that I spent here. I was able to walk around, talk to some other gamers, sit down at one of the computers and set up a game, and talk to some of the employees. The atmosphere is so welcoming that I didn’t feel my usual urge to be quiet, but was comfortable enough to be my normal, weird, geeky self. I was able to envision myself making the trip to the eSports Arena often and relaxing in the most awesome, epic setting imaginable. The guys who have worked so hard on this dream have really done an incredible job, and I’d definitely say it’s worth the trip to experience this amazing, one-of-a-kind setting. I know that I, myself, will be making frequent trips to the eSports Arena, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, awesome place to mingle with other gamers and have fun. You will not regret making the trip, trust me.
So what do you guys think? Is the eSports Arena a place you’ll soon be calling home? Let me know in the comments below!