Video games have become a massive industry and climbing quickly in popularity is the act of watching others play these games as a competitive sporting event. Aptly named eSports this new iteration of sporting events is growing steadily with Newzoo, a market analytics company, reporting that esports revenue will exceed one billion dollars and that the global eSports audience will grow to 453.8 million worldwide this year.
Even colleges are getting in on the action with more than 120 colleges nationwide having varsity esports programs. The National Association of Collegiate esports (NACE) governs these programs and championship winners can be awarded thousands of dollars in prize money.
With new esports venues popping up everywhere, planning for these venues varies from the typical AV project. Whether utilizing an already existing site, converting a venue or creating a new space altogether there are requirements that differ from your typical sporting venue set up.
Esports requires broadcasting, whether streaming feeds onto in-house displays or live streaming competitions to online viewers. A necessity in almost every competitive gaming event, cameras should be able to capture gamers from multiple angles to satisfy viewers who want to see their every move and expression. At least one camera on each player and a live feed for each of their screens, in addition to cameras for commentators and audience shots, adds up to quite a numerous amount of sources and redundancies.
Mics must be provided for all gamers and also commentators as well as for the gaming consoles. Additionally, audio has to be carefully routed. Consider that team members need to be able to communicate without other teams being able to hear them, while simultaneously sharing all team chatter with viewers.
All displays and video walls need to provide high-quality video with low latency. Lag time can be costly to gamers in a competition who are making split second decisions based on what they see on their screens. AV-over-IP and 10K Gb networking options can work well for large scale installations such as esports with very low or zero frame latency and high quality video distribution.