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Will Hawaii Dethrone Vegas as Esports Hotspot? AD

Will Hawaii Dethrone Vegas as Esports Hotspot?

E3 is over, which means that now we more or less know what to expect for the gaming world in the near future.

It also means that we can go back to our virtual worlds, which are getting more and more interconnected with “real” life.

The line between what lives on the screen and what happens in the physical dimension is more than blurred, to the point that the gaming world is beginning to get its due as do other industries in the professional entertainment sphere.

An upcoming mayoral event in Hawaii suggests that gaming is becoming important enough to be on the agenda of high-ranking officials, while entities on the state-island have already set the wheels in motion to support esport competitors.

The Battle of Arenas

Gaming has always been an integral part of popular culture. Even as far back as Spacewar!, PAC-MAN, and handheld Tetris devices, playing videogames has been a global phenomenon.

However, in less than a decade the global gaming scene has witnessed unparalleled growth - so much so that the best in the game (pun intended) have amassed an enviable stardom and fortunes.

So, it’s not surprising that the industry caught the interest of big brands and even public officials. It is also not a shocker that Vegas became one of the world's esports gaming capitals.

The city, still known as an entertainment hotspot, secured recognition as an esport go-to in 2018 when three of the biggest names in gaming joined forces with the iconic Luxor hotel which now hosts the HyperX Esports Arena.

With the global esports industry expecting to reach $1 billion value this year, it's only natural that the 30,000 sq. ft. former disco club would find a fine purpose as a gaming arena.

Past grand events held there include Ninja Vegas ’18 where Tyler Blevins played live for charity, the League of Legends All-Star 2018, and last year's World Poker Tour final.
However, Vegas being a gaming capital certainly doesn't mean that it's the only US place competing for the attention of avid gamers.

Arlington, TX has the Esports Stadium Arlington; Burbank, CA has the Blizzard Arena; Esports Arena is present in Orange County, CA and Oakland, CA (in addition to the Luxor location); while historical arenas such as Madison Square Garden and LA's Staples Center have also hosted big gaming events.

Now, Player H(awaii) has joined the game.

Hawaii

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The United States Conference of Mayors was founded far back in 1932. Twice a year the organization brings together mayors of US cities with a population of more than 30,000 so they can discuss whatever is on the agenda for the country's development on a local level.
The first meeting for the year is always in Washington while the second one is held in June in a different city each year. Esports has become such a lucrative area that it's on the agenda of the second mayoral meeting for 2019, which will take place 28/06-01/07 in Hawaii.

Long dismissed as nothing more than a hobby, esports have become a well-paying profession, esports betting is totally a thing, and even the authorities are recognizing the splash that professional electronic sports gaming has made across the industry.
The conference's discussion on the topic is part of the Best Practice Forums and is titled "Is Your City Ready for the Next Craze in Sports—Esport."

Hawaii hasn't shied away from acknowledging that gaming is now a legit part of young people's lives. In addition to hosting an esports training camp between July and August, the Hawai‘i Pacific University, according to its own account, "is the first gaming university with a collegiate eSports Arena in the state of Hawaii."

The institution also boasts that it "is also the first college to offer competitive gaming scholarships for eSport athletes in the state of Hawaii."

Another higher education institution on the island state — The University of Hawaiʻi — is offering through its College of Social Sciences a course on Esports and Society.

In February The Hawaii High School Athletic Association, along with PlayVS, piloted an esports inter-school tournament which 23 high-schools took part in. It looks like both private and public entities in Hawaii are eager to do their part in building better network and infrastructure for esports aficionados. That being said, the southern state is obviously becoming a serious contender for one of the top spots in the list of most gaming-friendly states.

Christian Schmidt

Christian Schmidt

Staff Writer

Playing videogames, listening to nightcore

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