Esports Arena & Gaming Lounge set to open at University of Washington this spring

The University of Washington has confirmed plans to add an Esports Arena & Gaming Lounge to its Husky Union Building (HUB). The project is due to open this spring.

Called the HUB Esports Arena & Gaming Lounge, the centre will be a ‘full-service, state-of-the-art gaming centre’, that will support both casual and competitive gaming, along with virtual reality. The University hopes the new 1,000 square-foot space will become a HUB for the local community, students and gaming culture.

An early sketch of the arena layout

Kevin Zhou, a UW alumnus and former Washington Gaming Association president, had this to say: “The gaming lounge represents an enormous opportunity to bring together the gaming community at the UW by providing a shared space that both competitive and casual gamers can use for gaming events, esports practices and casual play. Additionally, the creation of this gaming lounge can provide a large variety of industry related applications, such as research in game development and tools for expanding broadcasting capabilities.”

During the planning process, Washington took students’ opinions and feedback about the project, from the design of the Esports Arena & Gaming Lounge to the technology, artwork, games and much more.

Rates for UW students are set at $3.50/hour or $30/10hours, UW faculty and staff rates are $4.50/hour or $40/10hours and the general public is $6.00/hour. The HUB Fund will also provide support for RSO programming grants, scholarships for competition and academic & career development opportunities in the gaming industry.

The project will include Twitch Student, a Twitch-run program that provides ‘support, knowledge and tools to empower students’, allowing them to have their voices heard and contribute to the gaming and esports industries.

Mark Candella, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Twitch, had this to say: “A place to build valuable digital media skills and business acumen through gaming and esports is a great way to engage students while preparing them for jobs in the industry. Our Twitch Student program is proud to have helped in the thought processes behind establishing such a program at the HUB and we are looking forward to contributing in any way possible.”

Washington becomes the latest in a long line of University campuses to embrace esports. In 2018 alone, We’ve seen Full SailWestern MichiganAkronOhio State, Oxford and York, to name just a few of the University’s offering either courses or facilities for esports fans.

Esports Insider says: University’s across the globe are starting to embrace both gaming and esports in a big way, we’ve seen so many new projects in 2018 alone that it would take an entire article to list them all. That alone is great news and should be great news for esports going forward.

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