Australian venue company Fortress Esports has confirmed plans for a “flagship” gaming and esports entertainment area in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, with aims to host League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike events in the new development.
The venue is set to be located at the Emporium Melbourne shopping complex, with the space planned to take up more than 2,700 square meters across two floors. There are also plans to include 160 gaming PCs, streaming areas, and RPG spaces.
The 200-seat custom-built esports arena, complete with production facilities for any and all tournaments to be hosted in the southern city, stands as the jewel of the plans. The Victorian capital has found success in hosting gaming events like the Melbourne Esports Open in recent years, and Fortress Melbourne is set to double-down on that rising popularity.
“Melbourne has become the epicenter for video gaming and esports culture, with major events like MEO and PAX Australia,” said Fortress Esports chief executive John Satterley.
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The finals for Riot Games’ Oceanic Pro League and Blizzard’s Overwatch Contenders Australia were played out at the historic Rod Laver Arena, while Melbourne Arena was turned into a convention hall full of gaming consoles and first-look stalls.
— Melbourne, Australia (@Melbourne) September 1, 2019
The news also comes soon after a statement from media company HT&E, which branded Australia as an “unsustainable market” for competitive gaming following its esports division Gfinity failing to find a foothold in Oceania.
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The Gfinity esports division first launched in 2017 in Australia, and was the first company to construct a purpose-built esports arena alongside cinema chain Hoyts. The operation was closed earlier this year after posting a $5.3 million loss as of June 30, 2019.
While Gfinity’s recent closure put a damper on the growth of Australian esports, the booming popularity of this year’s Melbourne Esports Open and confirmation of Fortress Melbourne opening in 2020 have both provided new life to the esports and gaming scene Down Under.
Confirmation on what events will be hosted at the new custom-built gaming arena are expected by early 2020 as construction on the Melbourne venue continues.