By Jeff Todd
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The Denver metro area is now a bigger star on the map for video game players and fanatics. Localhost Arena opened in Lakewood on Friday providing more than 100 specialized seats for gaming.
“Esports means competitive gaming. An esports arena is where you play those competitive games. We provide the equipment, all of the necessary structure and infrastructure needed to run a tournament,” said John Fazio the CEO of N3rd Street Gaming, which runs the facility.
Localhost Arena transformed an old sports facility inside a storefront at Jewell Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard. Fazio talks about the computers and gaming consoles as just a modern day version of sports. Broncos Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders is the first celebrity endorser of the facility.
“It’s a community. It’s a place where you know you’re going to be surrounded by people who think like you,” Fazio said. “Success will be, when a kid who couldn’t afford a PC comes out here, competes in one of our tournaments, and develops a career path that takes them to college.”
Gaming stations are top tier, costing up to $4,000 each. But players are only charged $20 a day, or $10 for four hours of play.
“Without centers like this it’s kind of hard for me, it would have been hard for me to enter the scene and make this my job,” said Shawn Taylor, a professional Counterstrike player who goes by Witmer. “It’s almost like a rec center. You can get pickup games going; meet new people who have the same interests.”
“This allows you to develop an in-person presence train with your team in a row, right next to each other with your coach right behind you. Talking face to face just like we’re used to for traditional sports.”
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Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.