World's first video game stadium gets underway

15,000-seat "MLG Arena" coming to Hengqin Island, off the coast of Macau; scheduled to open in 2017.

This is a stock image from MLG, not the new MLG Arena

[UPDATE] Rod "Slasher" Breslau at GameSpot sister site onGamers has conducted an interview with MLG president Mike Sepso about the announcement. Below is a highlight from his interview, and you can read more at onGamers.

"This development on Hengquin Island is a true stadium and the first of its kind," Sepso told onGamers. "This is a massive development in one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Additionally, the China gaming market is enormous and the fastest growing on earth. The anticipated launch of the MLG Arena in 2017 will give MLG a very strong foothold in that market but also a marquis travel destination to showcase eSports at the highest level."

"In the US we have been working on partnerships with existing stadiums and arenas and we will be announcing those later this year."

The original story is below.

The eSports scene continues to grow. Major League Gaming announced plans this week to build the world's first "MLG Arena," a 15,000-seat stadium on Hengqin Island, which is off the coast of popular gambling hot-spot Macau.

MLG announced the news Thursday, in partnership with Lai Fung Holdings Limited and eSun Holdings Limited. The new MLG Arena, located in what the company is calling the "V-Zone," is planned as the centerpiece of an $18 billion "Creative Culture City" initiative for the Hengqin Island.

In addition to operating as the site of the first-ever MLG Arena, the V-Zone is going to include an expo area for game developers to feature new and upcoming games, as well as gaming-themed restaurants and retail shops. The MLG Arena is scheduled to open in 2017, though no images of the stadium have been released.

MLG says Hengqin is an ideal location for its first stadium because it's located just five minutes from Macau, 30 minutes from Hong Kong, and within 100km of five international and domestic airports. In addition, the Chinese gaming market is massive. The number of gamers in the country has now surpassed the total number of American citizens, according to data from research firm EEDAR.

MLG's expansion to China represents the eSports company's second major international news this year, following the launch of MLG Brasil in February. Additional details about the MLG Arena in Hengqin, the V-Zone itself, and further international expansion will be announced in the months ahead, MLG said.

The League of Legends World Championship Finals are held at Los Angeles' massive Staples Center, while MLG typically holds its events at various convention centers. There's no word yet if MLG or any other eSports company plans to open a video game-specific arena in the US.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

104 comments
tightwad34
tightwad34

Where the hell is Macau? I take it it's in Hengquin? Which I also have never heard of.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

I think it will do fine if its in China. It just wouldnt work here because its considered too nerdy by most people that want to watch and talk about physical sports. Just cultural differences

brothersinarmsb
brothersinarmsb

Let's be honest. Who's gonna travel to Macau to watch video games

Vodoo
Vodoo

I wouldn't encourage anything related to the Chinese, especially being a country that doesn't respect the ip rights of anybody. The country's GDP is all about selling stolen knock-offs. And until they come to respect the hard work of others, they should be excluded from any international events.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

pffft! Totally missed an opportunity to promote this as a Videodrome.

lilflipp
lilflipp

Gaming events aren't consistent enough for this to work. You're going to host tournaments every months? Or every week?


There's a big difference between watching an hockey game live and watching it on a tv screen. 

There isn't that much of a difference between watching a screen... live? and watching it at home. I mean you're starring at screen either way. You're not looking at the gamers, they're just sitting down not moving, which is what i would be doing at home.

I'll watch some but it's usually while I'm playing the game that I'm watching.


Yes video games have been growing a lot these past couple of years especially. But calm the fuck down. Don't over hype shit, it always back fires, we've seen it with a lot of games before.

grenadehh
grenadehh

Please don't. Not only are MLG not real gamers but the very concept is absurd. They play the shittiest games there are, and get paid for it, and they aren't even hard games. A stadium....to go watch people play games, utterly ridiculous.

cracka123
cracka123

Many of you think this will definitely flop, but you probably do not understand gaming culture in different countries, particularly in east Asia. Generally speaking, Chinese and Koreans do not play console games. Many (and by many I mean hundreds of millions) play PC games. Furthermore, hardcore gaming is more socially acceptable over there compared to the U.S., so this would most likely succeed.


It costs $1 or less to play for one hour at a PC cafe in China/Korea. They can be found on every corner in every city filled with many people smoking, eating instant noodles, and playing video games.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Gaming is not a sport; it's a hobby.  Get a life!

feared4power
feared4power

watching people play video games is boring

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

I like this idea but it sounds pretty sketchy to be honest... they're going to need a LOT of activities to keep this place popular and profitable.

WhiteTulip1
WhiteTulip1

if this gets built, it will get shut down in a few years

wookiegr
wookiegr

Not at all like someone going out and binge drinking as soon as they turn 21.

realshooter305
realshooter305

this is gonna be a hit who ever say other wise is a idiot, blizzcon sells out n tickets are 200$ as does pax n e3 this have restaurants and all types of things to do it will be like GAMING DISNEY WORLD. this will be a hit

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

Lol when I start banking i'm so heading over here

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

If the MLG arena is gonna be built in China, but China is now banning more than 90% of games then what games would they be playing in there ?

steve_esquire
steve_esquire

I think it's unnecessary, but I do think it's pretty cool too. The problem I see is this: I can watch football on tv and enjoy it a ton. I get better views and I can watch it in peace. However, if you're there, there's an excitement that you can't get at home from seeing the people in person; it's like going to a live concert. But with this, if you're there you're going to be looking up at a screen. It's literally going to be the exact same except with a lot of people around you. The only way they can make it worth it is if the fans could play on the screens too (like a half time or something lol). I think it'd be amazing to play in front of that many people. I just don't really see the point though. It'd be sweet if there was a lot of other things to do as well, and if the tickets were really cheap. I get the sense that we're going back to the good ol' days of standing around an arcade machine cheering someone on, and that's the cool part of this.

kuda001
kuda001

Unfortunately, wrong medium for video games. I would focus and improve the online platform. Much more cost effective and has far greater reach. Unless your having events on a weekly basis, how can you justify the costs.

Massacher
Massacher

well guess what? I find people that are into physical sports and talking about it annoying. seriously who thinks that running after a ball or hitting a ball is entertaining?

and another thing I have never understood. people that watch sports are so into it that they say "we won" or "we played well" or something similar. these people didn't win, lose or draw. they didn't do anything except sit and watch. they are spectators.

we gamers actually participate . true we also spectate but overall we do play. so sport heads get over yourselves.

sport wasn't always mainstream and accepted by the masses. now it's our turn. if you don't like e-sports don't watch it. simple.

Massacher
Massacher

you could watch live streams.

but yea seriously where is this place?

zeek_fox
zeek_fox

@lilflipp Stadiums are more about being around bunches of other fans.  A hockey game isn't as exciting at home because you're likely sitting there on your own.  But in a stadium, when the crowd erupts and you're part of that crowd, you feel it.  I'd imagine gaming tournaments will be similar, where those crazy comeback moments (like some of Justin Wong's UMvC3 fights at NorCal regionals recently) go from being "wow" sitting in a chair at home to bringing an entire stadium to their feet.

Massacher
Massacher

so going to a stadium to watch grown men chase a ball isn't?

Massacher
Massacher

yea were all gamers here. just different levels of skill. and we don't all spend all day playing. even though I used to.

lilflipp
lilflipp

@grenadehh Not real gamers? Wtf is this "real gamers". Get your head out of your ass. If those guys aren't real gamers than wtf do you consider a real gamer. A lot of these guys live off streams, sponsors and shit like that.


If you play video games, you're a god damn gamer. Some are more casual than others but very few are more hardcore than the ones who participate in these competitions.

referencedrs
referencedrs

@DrKill09  So I guess professional footballers are just doing a hobby? Because according to your concept thats exactly what they're doing.

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

Stare into the abyss and the abyss stares back buddy.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@feared4power  Anyone who has ever had a friend who played DDR can tell you that shit for sure. It applies to all games, no matter how good they are.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@realshooter305  You realize E3 and Blizzcon are industry events where progression on technology and games are shown off by businesses.Not to mention swag, booth babes, and the whole event is fun (once you get used to hurried Asian business men literally running in to you and not even apologizing).

A major league gaming stadium is an entirely different concept and is ridiculous.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@realshooter305  You need to have a big event like... every WEEK for a massive stadium like this to remain profitable though!  They're gonna have to start creating more conventions...

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@steve_esquire That is the case with hundreds of huge arenas.  Have you ever been to a huge arena and sat near the top?  The basketball court is so tiny it looks like a piece of paper.  People don't enjoy that view.  They just want to be at the game or event to be part of the excitement.

Fitcherman
Fitcherman

@kuda001 The bigger the venue, the more money MLG makes from ticket sales.  The bigger the event, the more online viewers.  The more online viewers, the more money MLG gets from ads and commercials.

kuda001
kuda001

@Fitcherman Fair enough but what I am saying is re-direct those resources to the online platform and you can generate more revenue that way. Every one enjoys watching tournaments every now and again but you don't need a 15,000 seat stadium to do that. It seems an excessive waste of money.

steve_esquire
steve_esquire

True. If they make it a huge event, people will tune in. It doesn't matter what happens on screen, as long as they get the hype and spread the word, it could be a massive success.