Imagine this: It’s Saturday and you’ve got the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop with the surf pounding the shores of Monterey Bay – once called “the greatest meeting of land and sea” in all the world. You are about to tee off on the 18th green at Pebble Beach with your friends in the middle of a harsh January blizzard and the temperature is well below freezing. Wait a minute. The Monterey Peninsula doesn’t get snowstorms and it never falls below zero– and why on earth would one be golfing even if that were the case? Ah, but you’re not in Pebble Beach, California! You’re at home in Chicago, toasty warm with the fireplace going, playing golf on a giant screen made for impact with scenes of the golf course and all of its nuances provided by Trackman, a leading provider of golf simulators. While others are snowed in, you and your friends are practicing, competing, and perfecting skills for the season ahead– and having one heck of a good time while doing it– all in the comfort of your own home.
In an adjacent room, teenagers are playing Minecraft with friends from the other side of the globe, then they’re off to ski and snowboard in Aspen, followed by afternoon bowling, and then enjoying movie night on a massive screen with the grandparents — a far more enjoyable place to be for many than the local theater and its chaotic environment. Yeah, this is the good life.
Having all this in your own home is only a phone call away, however it’s not a do-it-yourself project you can complete in a weekend. No way. These are highly technical, collaborative creations with numerous vendors involved with specific needs. Every detail matters. Which cabling to choose, how to control ambient light and focus players’ eyes on the screen, which audio to use, what video technology will best support the action, and a cohesive, acoustically-treated interior that will not only enhance sights and sounds but ensure the best sightlines for players and the audience, and so much more – right down to fabrics, fittings, chairs, and bar setups.
To do rooms of this scale right, you need a professional integrator and a professional designer collaborating cohesively on the project, and that’s what Todd Astill, of Nerve Park City, and Lisa Slayman, of Slayman Design Associates and Slayman Cinema, are bringing to market, together.
“What Todd Astill and I are collaborating on is a new way to tap into a trend that is skyrocketing. We want to open people’s eyes about the way these spaces can be used to entertain in a much larger, more impactful, and enjoyable manner, and everything we can do with them; how they can function and serve to delight and unite families and friends,” said Lisa Slayman, President of Slayman Design Associates and Slayman Cinema. “People don’t understand the magnitude of the technology and how complicated these high-end home installations are, but we’re bringing that to the forefront and showcasing what’s possible. Seeing is one thing, but physically experiencing these rooms are the only way to really understand what makes them so amazing. Once you’ve spent a few hours in a purpose-built eSports, gaming, and multisport simulation environment you will never forget the experience.”
Much like a dedicated home theater, eSports, gaming, and multisport simulator rooms need to be self-contained environments where players, and those in the audience, feel the sensation of sight and sound transporting them to another reality, freeing their mind of everything else. This is not your typical theater – it’s much, much more.
Think about this. An eSports, gaming, and multisport room can include sports everyone in the home enjoys and perhaps, desires to be competitive in. Golf, football, baseball, soccer, skiing, snowboarding, race car driving, cycling, rowing, and even cricket, rugby, bocce – you name it – the options for virtual sports simulation at home are practically limitless.
How big is gaming? According to a recent study from GamerHub, the gaming industry is now over twice the size of the music and movie industries combined. Yes, you read that correctly. That is HUGE and it raises the question, ‘Why are so many integrators ignoring this massive opportunity to incorporate gaming into the projects being done by our industry?’
“Most integrators don’t know how to implement everything that goes into a room like this – they’re sharing this with us as we are talking about this new offering. Many don’t know much about the gaming industry, haven’t gotten immersed in VR yet, and are intimidated by it,” says Todd Astill, President of Nerve Park City. “This category is greatly ignored now simply because integrators sell what they have always sold, and it’s easy to get stuck in that rut.” Until now.
Another enormous untapped market for those interested in getting into this business is professional athletes. Many athletes are big-time gamers during the season and are even more active in the off-season because they can’t risk injury playing another high-octane sport. Being the competitive people they are, these athletes often turn to gaming for their off-season fix. Rather than hitting the slopes or playing games in their bedroom on a computer monitor, why not set them up with a room that can accommodate not only movies, but gaming and multisport simulation so they can compete with their teammates when they feel the need, and connect with family and friends when they need some downtime? Athletes, like most people, want to be immersed in the experience and what better way to do that than eSports, gaming, and multisport simulation rooms decked-out with crystal-clear sound, epic visuals, prime acoustics, and plush seating with options for viewers and gamers to get in on the action.
“Online gaming is what drives the gaming industry because people want to compete with others all over the world. They want to share what they are doing,” adds Astill. “The only reason athletes don’t have what we as integrators offer, is because they don’t know it exists. And it’s our job to change that. Lisa and I are paving the way.”
Astill says education is key — about gaming, simulation, and selling the lifestyle — and that there are no boundaries with gaming; you can connect with anyone anywhere. He emphasized that Integrators need to show technology is a way to connect with people rather than a way to isolate ourselves; that it’s about the social aspect and a way for families to draw closer.
The process for integrators to deliver an extraordinary home entertainment center comes down to four things, according to Astill and Slayman. The first aspect is to create one large social space and not scatter the experience throughout the house. Second is to not compromise the quality or integrity of the experience by providing and the best solutions to make it both beautiful and functional. The third factor is selling the lifestyle, not the technology. Customers are concerned with what is in it for them, not the nuts and bolts of the installation. Paint a picture of the ultimate visual and physical experience using visuals that represent the client’s interests as well as what’s trending. And fourth, champion the experience of friends gathering and famil bonding, where multiple generations can be in the same space enjoying themselves and their time together.
Thanks, in great part to the Pandemic, “people are now more interested in entertainment at home rather than going out; they’ve rediscovered that being home with family is awesome and they want a unique, dedicated entertainment space,” Astill concluded. “The convergence of all this demand is reinvigorating the opportunity for integrators to take the latest technology and turn it into something incredible, something no one else has.”
Lisa Slayman, ASID, IIDA
SLAYMAN DESIGN ASSOCIATES, INC. | SLAYMAN CINEMA
1485 Glenneyre, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
President, Nerve Park City
6400 N Business Loop Rd, Unit G
Park City, UT 84098
Original article was posted here: https://connecteddesign.com/trend-spotting-esports-gaming-and-multisport-theaters