The space will serve as a lounge for gamers and will house up to 20 high-end gaming stations.
The garage-like room at the entrance to the Pat Case Dining Center will be converted into an area for e-sports, or competitive video gaming, next year. Dr. Melissa France, the associate vice president for enrollment and student services, was instrumental in this campus addition, saying, “Plans have been made for the creation of an e-gaming arena in Fisher Hall.”.
This decision was not a hasty one, and campus housing took months to collect sufficient data to support the big change.
“Since the fall of 2018, we have been soliciting student feedback and studying trends in the fast-growing e-gaming industry,” said France.
Some students may wonder if this change is necessary and why e-sports of all things would need its own room. But France commented on the need for the space, writing, “TU has numerous student organizations/clubs that have frequent competitions and provide a social outlet for a large part of the student body but lack a designated space.”
Campus Housing believes this is also a step in the right direction to respond to the growing e-sports industry. E-sports reportedly is followed by over 300 million fans worldwide. The 2019 League of Legends World Championships attracted 99.6 million viewers. Meanwhile, the 2019 Super Bowl attracted 98.2 Million.
“High schools are starting E-gaming teams, competitions are becoming more popular and a large population of colleges and universities are beginning to form competitive teams,” wrote France.
“We want to be an innovative part of this growth, encouraging our students to be active and social.”
France also made it clear that the space will be friendly to novices, despite the competitive aspect of e-sports on the college and professional level.
“We expect that this central location will bring students together with a common interest while also providing an outlet for casual and competitive players,” wrote France.
So what will the new Fish Bowl actually look like? Currently, most students are familiar with the pseudo-cafeteria room with a wall of television. Some changes will have to be made to meet the demands of an e-sports area. After meeting with the architects, France gave a basic overview of the major additions.
“The e-gaming arena will include all necessary equipment and be arranged with approximately 20 high-end gaming stations, including three Nintendo Switch stations,” stated France. “Large televisions will provide e-gaming competition viewing opportunities, and casual seating areas will allow students to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.”
In addition to e-sports, France stated campus housing will “also provide a collection of board games.”
The Fish Bowl has long been a room without any clear purpose, and with the exploding e-sports community around the globe, it seems Campus Housing wants to begin work as soon as possible.
“Remodeling of the space will begin this summer, and the arena will open in the fall of 2019,” concluded France.