Olivia R. September 3, 2019
With more than 2,700 square meters and two floors, the Fortress Melbourne esports arena is set to be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
Located at the Emporium Melbourne shopping complex, the esports arena can host tournaments in its custom-built, 200-seat competitive area. Then there's the gaming section of the center, which has 160 gaming PCs, streaming areas, and spots designated to RPGs and tabletop gaming.
While Melbourne isn't the first place that comes to mind when people think about esports, the city has hosted the a number of events over the years and boasts the popular Melbourne Esports Open. The arrival of a dedicated arena for esports events will hopefully serve to attract more tournament organizers.
“We’re excited to be opening our first flagship venue in Melbourne, and offer Australians a video gaming entertainment space that they can enjoy all year round. We want to make Fortress Melbourne the ultimate ‘home away from home’ for everyone from casual gamers, competitive gamers, and esports fanatics, to families and after-work crowds," Fortress Esports chief executive John Satterly said.
Fortress Esports was founded in 2018 by Satterly and Adrian Giles. It has become one of the continent's most successful esports organizations.
The announcement for this new esports arena came at the end of MEO this year. Held in Melbourne at the Olympic Park, more than 17,000 gamers and esports fans came to the event, which featured tournaments for League of Legends, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege. Events like these have led Satterly to call Melbourne "the epicenter for video gaming and esports culture."
Melbourne was also the home of Riot's Oceanic Pro League, as well as Blizzard's Overwatch Contenders Australia.
Australia's shaky start in esports
Australia's Gfinity hadn't done well in Oceania at all, which caused media company HT&E to call Australia's competitive gaming market "unsustainable."
Gfinity esports was launched in 2017, but they were closed just two years later. In June 30, the operation had a $5.3 million loss.
But this doesn't seem to be putting a damper on Australia's esports dreams, with Melbourne right at the center of it. Fortress Esports partnered with Allied Esports to create the venue. Allied Esports, who own the HyperX Esports Arena in Las Vegas, will be working on the development and operation of the arena.
Fortress Esports has also teamed up with Populous, architects who have worked on stadiums in London, to create the space.
Fortress Melbourne will open in 2020. No schedule on future events and tournaments has been posted yet.