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Gamer Culture Comes to the Mall

Will more entertainment venues at the mall be a big part of the future? Let’s see what the industry experts think…

Photo Courtesy of CNN.

Gamer culture is coming to the mall, experts say, as landlords sign more tenants catering to players of e-sports video games like Fortnite, and League of Legends.

New concepts such as The Void and Dreamscape are giving visitors the chance to slip on headsets and gawk at virtual-reality experiences conjured by Hollywood studios.

In major markets around the globe, gamer-friendly entertainment tenants are leasing space for formats ranging from pop-ups to large boxes.

The 2019 Global Esports Market Report revealed that in 2018, fans spent a whopping 347.4 million hours watching Twitch and YouTube content related to one e-sports title alone: League of Legends.

These analysts predict that global e-sports revenues will climb to $1.1 billion by the end of this year — up 26.7 percent from 2018.

In e-sports, teams use high-speed Internet connections to compete on the same battlefield, often coordinating their moves by talking into headsets.

This past July, spectators packed the sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium, in the New York City to watch a 16-year-old win $3 million in the Fortnite World Cup. During the three-day competition, about 200 gamers chased a prize pool of $30 million.

The popularity of such events highlights the growing demand among e-sports fans for real-world places in which to play, watch, socialize and eat and drink.

PlayLive Nation, an e-sports lounge franchise, operates 45 facilities with about 40 additional gaming centers listed on its website as “coming soon.”

Mark J. Silvestri, Simon’s executive vice president, stated Simon Mall will invest $5 million in the entertainment company Allied Esports, which will create lounges for competitive video game events.

Mall landlords like Simon need to find new tenants to replace struggling department stores. Retailers have already announced 6,000 store closures this year.

Dreamscape introduced its immersive VR experience as a pop-up last year. They were so successful that they then latched on with a permanent location.

Whether VR and e-sports tenants will succeed over the long run is questionable. Skeptics ask why gamers would go to the mall when they can play at home. The challenge for e-sports and VR tenants is to create an experience that drives traffic to brick-and-mortar venues.

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