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.

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

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Avatar image for PS4andXoneGamer
PS4andXoneGamer

Gaming is not a sport. People do realize that right?

Avatar image for Aelfredus
Aelfredus

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah people know that. How is that relevant to this article?

Avatar image for steve_esquire
Steve_Esquire

It's a slippery slope. Fishing and racing are definitely much harder than people realize. If I went outside and tried to catch a fish, there's no way I'd get one. Racing is the same way. Drafting, fuel consumption, tire preservation, communication, spotters, and crew chiefs are all things that people don't realize. People say "oh I can drive a car" and think they can manage all of that while driving 200 mph in a suit that practically melts you (it can get really hot in those suits).

Then you have video games. Yes those drivers couldn't race in a game (well, some actually do play racing games and are extremely good at them), just like guitarists can't play Guitar Hero. So it does take skill to play a game. It's just that does the amount of skill outweigh the lack of physical needs? Are poker, chess, and checkers sports? The World Poker Tour is on almost nonstop on TV and gets a ton of views, even though the people aren't doing anything physical. Games could fall under the exact same thing. No one here could play against a pro poker player and win, but they probably couldn't beat me at Rainbow Six or Halo.

Overall the best way I can put it is this: Gaming could be seen as a sport, but I don't think gamers should be called "athletes." It's competitive and takes skill, and that could make it be a sport. Whether even gamers agree with that or not, it could probably pass as one by definition. Either way, it's just a word. As long as people go and watch, that's all that matters.

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

<< LINK REMOVED >> They don't realize that. Which is why some even go as far to change the definition of "sport" in a farcical attempt to legitimize it.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> "competitive activity involving skill or physical prowess" If you go by the definition of sport, than it actually is a sport. I mean, fishing and racing are sports as well. It doesn't really matter though, everyone is going to have their own opinion.

Avatar image for Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

<< LINK REMOVED >> That's true - however, I wouldn't want to put a basketball player into the cockpit of a F1 racer. I wouldn't go as far as saying that F1 racers can keep up physically with an athlete that does strength training regularly, but they're much tougher than people think. Maybe not physical prowess, but I'd put money on a racer if he went into a boxing match against a golfer.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah you have to be able to withstand that pressure and be in decent shape, but that is not physical prowess. If you take them out of the cars and put them on the track or on the basketball court its not like they are all tremendous athletes or anything. My example was more about golfers and fishermen anyways. They are considered athletes, but are they in great shape, do they have physical prowess?

Avatar image for Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

<< LINK REMOVED >> You have to be in physical form because of the sheer G-force being produced by the vehicle itself. You have to train your body to be able to withstand that kind of pressure (as well as the endurance to race for hours on end at massive speeds) otherwise the driver would pass out behind the wheel - which does happen. Fighter pilots go through the same kind of training, just not -as- rigorous since they mostly have to get past the huge G-force from a launch, since they do have a suit that helps their body withstand it (unlike F1 drivers which usually just wear a fire retardant suit)

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Why would you have to be in top physical form? They are sitting in a seat turning a wheel. It is much more of a skill than it is physical prowess.

Avatar image for deactivated-584419ec3a052

<< LINK REMOVED >> Racing DOES require physical prowess, doesn't it? I thought F1 drivers and the like have to be in top physical form.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >> Just as F1 drivers couldn't play professional Halo or StarCraft. That's fine if you don't consider fishing a sport, it is one by the definition. Not trying to change your mind or anything, just telling you the facts.

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@Fitcherman @CaptainHerlock @PS4andXoneGamer I doubt these kids could drive in F1 or touring cars. And I don't consider fishing a "sport". And you wonder why people laugh when they watch The Big Bang Theory.

Avatar image for Fitcherman
Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> it says or skill, and gaming involves skill. There is no physical prowess in racing or fishing either but those are sports. Can you compare a fisher to Usain Bolt?

Avatar image for CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> If you actually think that clicking a button demonstrates "physical prowess", then there's no need for me to continue this conversation. To make the assertion that somehow going "click,click, click" puts you in the same category as Usain Bolt, or Michael Phelps is LAUGHABLE, and any rationale person would agree with me.

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Fitcherman

<< LINK REMOVED >> People debate that regularly. I don't think anyone is changing anyone else's mind.

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wookiegr

<< LINK REMOVED >> Golf and Thumb Wrestling aren't sports either.

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Hayasmez

Inb4 angry dinosaurs.