Norris recently went on a whirlwind European trip, and got a chance to check out at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London.
Check out a little preview of inside the Sphere!
Red Bull has dipped its toes in virtually every manner of sports entertainment there is. They’ve purchased soccer teams, slapped their brand on countless alternative sports like air racing and motocross and even sponsored record-breaking sky-dives from Earth’s upper atmosphere. With that said, they’ve become a major player in esports as well. They currently own the Red Bulls in the European Challenger Series (League of Legends), OG Dota 2 and were the main sponsor of Red Bull Battle Grounds for Street Fighter V. But tucked two blocks east of the A10 in Shoreditch, London is as special little something called the Red Bull Gaming Sphere.
The Gaming Sphere is a small hidden gem of a place with Republic of Gamers provided rigs pre-loaded with some of the biggest games in esports such as Overwatch and CS:GO. There’s PS4’s set up for console based games like Call of Duty and most fighting games. There are even two driving stations with three screens each for the maximum immersion when playing games like F1 or Forza. There’s a massive HD projection wall that streams whatever major battle is taking place in the Sphere. There’s even breakout rooms for private events and a comprehensive streaming/production suite already set up to broadcast local events to Twitch. This is all provided at no cost to the public.
Red Bull already has had some success with their venue ventures in The Red Bull House of Art in Detroit and Sao Paulo. But this is something else entirely. People can make appointments for their fledgling esports teams and have the equipment to properly scrim on without breaking the bank. More professional teams use it as an opportunity to hold free tryouts or community outreach. It’s all done for free, provided that there is a slot left for you. What this does is create a feeling of community and openness that many other places simply don’t have.
Arcades are dead, and the togetherness that they created is for the most part gone as well. What the Gaming Sphere could possibly do, what it IS doing in London, is foster a new type of Arcade. They’ve created a new Arcade where the MOBA is king, and where your Guilty Gear tournaments are broadcasted out with professional sub and donate packages. Gone is the food court aesthetic of American malls. It’s replaced by exposed brick, reclaimed wood and neon. But what remains is a safe place for gamers to hone their craft against each other, in person, which can never be replicated. Gamers can trade strategies, talk meta, play versus pros and of course, down gallons of Red Bull.
More information about Red Bull Gaming Sphere London can be found on their website: https://www.redbull.com/gb-en/red-bull-gaming-sphere-london-announcement.
Special out out to the studio manager, Ray Gaskin, and the staff at Red Gaming Sphere London! Thank you for accommodating us!
Photo by Norris Howard/Checkpoint