Saving Americas Malls with Fortnite - All we want to do is watch each other play video games

c-no

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This was from the New York Times.
https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/991774354525577221
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Video games are beginning their takeover of the real world.

Across North America this year, companies are turning malls, movie theaters, storefronts and parking garages into neighborhood esports arenas.

At the same time, content farms are spinning up in Los Angeles, where managers now see gamers as some peculiar new form of famous person to cultivate — half athlete, half influencer.

And much of it is powered by the obsession with one game: Fortnite. Over the last month, people have spent more than 128 million hours on Twitch just watching other people play Fortnite, the game that took all the best elements of building, shooting and survival games and merged them into one.

How obsessed are people? After each of their wins this season, the Houston Astros — among many other sports teams — are doing a very specific dance, their arms in the air, fingers spread, their legs bent, toes tapping rapidly. It’s a Fortnite dance.

Fortnite content received 2.4 billion views on YouTube in February alone, according to Tubular Insights. So yes, people love playing video games — but people also love to watch others compete at them.

Esports are, finally, just like any other sport.

Here’s How to Save America’s Malls
For gaming, this is a moment of convergence of trends. Professional esports leagues around games like League of Legends are growing more popular and more serious; huge numbers of people are tuning into livestreams to watch gamers play (Fortnite broke the record), and going to YouTube to get fun game-centric content from game celebrities.

At the same time? Physical spaces around the country are being renovated into gamer bars.

Those 150 million gamers in America want to gather. They want to sit next to each other, elbow to elbow, controller to controller. They want the lighting to be cool, the snacks to be Hot Pockets, and they want a full bar because they are not teenagers anymore.

It was inevitable. Movie theater attendance hit a 25-year low in 2017, while 638,000 tuned in to watchDrake play Fortnite recently. The Paris Olympics in 2024 are now in talks to include gaming as a demonstration sport.

playing together, chatting live on headsets and messaging apps as they march through their increasingly beautiful digital worlds.


Oakland’s new esports arena threw a pre-opening party recently. A line stretched down the block. Nearly 4,000 people jammed into the former parking structure and onto the street around it, right in the touristy heart of Jack London Square. The sponsor was Cup of Noodles. Inside it was cacophony.

There were game sound effects, hundreds of hands clicking on controllers, bags of chips opening and the periodic shrieks of “shoutcasters,” who comment on game play for live streams that tens of thousands watch.

Tyler Endres, the co-founder of Esports Arena, said he had to speak at four community meetings to convince the community it would, in fact, like an esports arena.

“They wanted a grocery store,” Mr. Endres said, grimacing.

And yes, the arena had trouble getting a liquor license.

“The thought was, ‘They’re 13-year-olds, they’re not drinking,’” said Jud Hannigan, 36, who is the chief executive of Allied Esports, an investor in Esports Arena. “But the average age is 25.”

It was a big industrial-looking space with a raised floor to hide the warren of cables, designed flexibly for big stage games or for nights when more people would play. Tonight was a bit of both, with more than a hundred TVs and computers set up with different games.


On the glowing stage, two of the best from the scrum went head-to-head, as the audience cheered and shoutcasters on high presenter chairs narrated the play-by-play. A smoke machine blew over the whole scene.

Landon Trybuch, a 24-year old from Vancouver, British Columbia, said it was nice to be out from the sweaty back rooms of video stores where he used to play.

“It’s amazing,” he said, holding his own controller. Its cord had been covered in yarn by his girlfriend. “There’s so much room.”

Six people ran a production studio in back, getting the game streamed live — audio, lighting, graphics, live cutting and instant replays.

Herb Press, 77, who designed the space, watched from the restaurant a few steps above the fray. This was his first esports arena, and he was not sure what to expect from the patrons.

“This is an audience involved in this particular time in the computer age, but I’m amazed how critical they are,” he said. “They do have serious concepts and tastes. I heard one come out of the bathroom and say it looked cool in there.”


Mr. Press is excited about Seattle, where he is working to transform a registered historic building, the four-story Union Stables, into an esports arena.

Make Money Playing Games, Ask Them How
One recent afternoon in the Hollywood Hills, the guys were tired, but the creative director needed more Fortnite content, and so the break dancers kept going.

The guys were FaZe Clan, an esports organization. Their job is to be cool gamers. They stream game play, and they make highly shareable videos about video games. This workday goal is to leave with three to four pieces of viral-ready content. So they’d keep filming “guess this dance move” videos.

FaZe is one of several growing esports teams and content mills. The Faze Clan, probably the largest pop gaming brand, has houses in California (Calabasas and Hollywood) and Texas (Austin). Fans often show up outside and try to come in, and Vera Salamone, the director of talent, is most alarmed by the fact that their parents are driving them there.

FaZe is one of several growing esports teams and content mills. The Faze Clan, probably the largest pop gaming brand, has houses in California (Calabasas and Hollywood) and Texas (Austin). Fans often show up outside and try to come in, and Vera Salamone, the director of talent, is most alarmed by the fact that their parents are driving them there.
 
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c-no

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I only want to watch someone else play a video game if they have something funny to say about it.

I can remember sitting on the couch while a "friend" hogged the controller. Fuck watching other people play games! Fuck it!
Beyond groups like Vinesauce, I can't much of the appeal in watching others play outside of seeing how to get through a section of a game or seeing how a game is.
 

c-no

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What the fuck does this have to with watching video games? :offtopic:

Also, at least videogames are more entertaining than golf and yet you don't see articles about people watching golf.
According to the article, you can get something like gamer bars or something like that.

This sounds like Hell tbh.
What gets me was the lack of Mountain Dew and Doritos. NY Times failed that bit of research.
 

CIA Nigger

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Those 150 million gamers in America want to gather. They want to sit next to each other, elbow to elbow, controller to controller. They want the lighting to be cool, the snacks to be Hot Pockets, and they want a full bar because they are not teenagers anymore.
Sometimes I can't tell if I'm reading quotes from that Million Dollar Extreme book or a news article anymore.
 

Lunete

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I'm all for renovating/reusing old malls or big box stores. But fortnight is a current fad, what's going to happen to this place when the video game fad dies down?