eSports seems to have hit a new tier of respectability. Or profit.
The owners of the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the grandiose movie palace on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, revealed at CinemaCon that they plan to open the world’s most advanced eSports theater. Located in the Chinese 6 Theatre complex next to their more famous property, TCL Chinese Theatre has said that the facility will serve as both an MX4D Motion EFX movie theater as well as “the first immersive spectator theater hosting competitive sports tournaments.”
“Films are now brought to life. The creation of an sports theater will allow the TCL Chinese Theatre to play a bigger role in the emerging world of competitive gaming,” said Alwyn Hight Kushner, president and COO of the TCL Chinese Theatres. “After we hosted the Vainglory World Championship last year, we were hooked, and want to expand our participation with a unique and exciting venue for players, tournament organizers and game publishers.”
The plan is to use the new facility as a foundation for a network of tournament theaters beyond Hollywood. The motion and effects of the MX4D seats are programmed to sync with the action on the screen for “a more exciting and realistic” experience during eSports events. Spectators will supposedly feel better immersion as teams clash in their chosen games. Considering that the MX4D seats include features like air/water blasts, leg/neck ticklers, fog, seat/back pokers, seat rumblers, and other special effects such as smoke, snow, and rain, it might prove more disruptive than immersive. The system is produced by MediaMation, which provides 4D Motion EFX theateres and seats at over two hundred installations worldwide.
“What we are launching is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Robert K. Laity, CEO of the TCL Chinese Theatre. “We see cinema operators working together as a global network of immersive MX4D® sports theaters and becoming part of the fabric of competitive gaming. We are in discussions with sponsors, sports organizations and other cinema operators to join force with the TCL Chinese Theatre as we bring this exciting capability to the world of online and live tournament play.”
According to Variety, the eSports facility will open in late summer 2017.