We asked our community writers to chronicle their experience over the G3 weekend. Here's what Lorenzo thought about the Copper Box Arena...
Set in the picturesque Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Copper Box Arena primarily hosted handball at London 2012, this weekend however, the venue is staging G3, the UK’s biggest multi-platform eSports event to date! Turning this handball court into an eSports arena has been no easy task, but the main hall has been terrifically transformed.
A 4-sided central pedestal houses the 4 main stages, each separated by dynamically lit curtains, colour-coded for the particular games on show. The stadium’s tiered seating has been used to full effect as well. The games are shown each to a separate side of the arena on huge screens, with smaller screens showing personal views in-game plus commentary teams talking viewers through the matches. The arena’s walkways are ideal to stroll around the arena, taking in the different games. They are littered with nooks and crannies containing console and PC hubs, merchandise stands and food stalls to keep spectators amused between matches. No matter where you choose to stand or sit in the Copper Box you are rewarded with excellent views of the tournaments in progress.
My favourite features introduced by Gfinity are the soundproof booths for the players – a first for the Counter-Strike scene - allowing the teams privacy from the casters and audience who revel in the more boisterous atmosphere of music and light. Games such as StarCraft II have enjoyed these features at tournament level for some time, but it is relatively new for Counter Strike. And while it can prevent players getting distracted at pivotal times, it does means the home teams – Infused and FM eSports – weren’t boosted by crowd support which they sorely needed as they struggled early on in the group stage.
By having the casters, players and analysts so open to the crowd, G3 have created a very personal and intimate feel while also providing a grand occasion for the action to unfold in. Teams not currently playing are often found in the seats chatting with the fans, which adds to the unique quality that G3 has.
I caught up with caster Stuart “TosspoT” Saw, who’s delighted with the venue Gfinity have provided: “It’s great, it’s amazing to see all the stages and all 4 eSports integrated into one event.” Let’s hope we have some gripping gameplay fit for this stunning arena!
Author: Lorenzo Flamingo