By Austin Gibson
For the Opelika Observer
A new form of competition is emerging, and CyberZone Entertainment Center is one among a few businesses in the nation to embrace it. It’s called esports, and its popularity is exploding worldwide. For a fee, gamers can play their favorite game on a high-caliber computer equipped with a gaming monitor, mouse, keyboard, and headset. This enables any gamer to compete at the highest level with exceptionally smooth gameplay and minimal delay. The esports stadium officially opened for testing on April 26 and is still under development, but the future is bright.
What is this rapidly growing industry called esports? An Esport is “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.” Examples include Fortnite, League of Legends, and Overwatch amidst a long list. If fans are unfamiliar with those games, they can watch gameplay of them now on the website Twitch.tv. which broadcasts a variety of streams ranging from individual players to professional leagues in which players compete for millions of dollars. The prize pool of the last League of Legends world championship was $6.45 million, and the publisher of Fortnite issued a $100 million prize pool in 2018.
Esports encourage all of the virtues associated with traditional sports including teamwork, communication, patience, critical thinking, and self-confidence. This is evidenced by professional teams paying hefty fees for sports psychologists to consult the individual players and improve team cohesion.
Furthermore, colleges including the University of Utah, the University of California-Irvine and Robert Morris University offer scholarships for talented players. Locally, Smiths Station High School recently recognized Esports as a form of competition and formed an official team to represent the school. Judging by the consistent growth of the industry during the last few years, this will continue to grow exponentially.
CyberZone Entertainment Center in down town Opelika has just opened an Esports stadium to provide local gamers with a chance to compete without impediment. The stadium consists of 18 gaming stations, and each station is equipped with an Alienware gaming computer, Alienware monitor, gaming headset, mouse and keyboard. All of the equipment is specially customized for competitive gamers. The Alienware gaming computer contains a high-spec NVIDIA graphics card which, when combined with the Alienware monitor with a refresh rate of 244Hz and one ms (millisecond) response time, results in exceptionally smooth gameplay. To maintain the high demands of the computers, CyberZone upgraded their internet to one gigabit speed through fiber optic cables. Throughout the few days of being open to the public, customers readily notice and comment on the breathtaking graphics displayed while playing their favorite game. The game library consists of the prominent esports catalog, along with an ever-expanding selection of popular, contemporary computer games. Along with enabling individual players to rival the equipment of professional players, CyberZone is already planning to host local tournaments for prizes and potentially sponsor local teams for national competition. This is merely one example of the many exciting prospects for the future.
Esports is an undeniably surging industry worldwide, and CyberZone is the first local business to embrace it and to make such a high-caliber investment. By providing gamers with the latest hardware and gaming equipment, they can compete with professional players without hindrance. With a library of popular esports and exciting plans for the future, CyberZone is shaping Opelika to be an attractive destination for gamers worldwide.
For more information, follow their social media pages or visit www.cyberzone334.com. The store is located at 107 N. 9th St.