Gaming in Cinema – A New Yet Practical Concept
If you’re a fan of cinema and also a fan of gaming at the same time, it’s time for you to rejoice because you can enjoy both at the same time. Yes, there’s a significant growth and establishment in the relationship between these two taking place slowly over around past five years. So, now you can play League of Legends on a specially built console in your local multiplex or you can watch a leading Fortnite tournament in Screen 2, as cinemas can offer you these opportunities. However, if a cinema is to be converted into a popular gaming venue, it will need a lot of technology, and here’s where there could be a setback.
eSports or Gaming?
If you know or believe that esports are different from gaming, you’re quite right. And the first difference is that the technological requirements of eSports and cinema as well as other live event screenings are similar. But these requirements are totally different when it comes to gaming. Thus, an operator who wish to invite people to enjoy active gaming in cinema hall will have to be familiar with technology-based downsides.
Latency, lag and ping may not be the terms that scare many in the cinema industry unless you have a liking for gaming, but these three mean different things of technical delay when high-speed games are played. And they don’t just spoil the atmospheres but they spoil the whole tournament. Given the high monetary and prestige stakes involved in top gaming tournaments, these three can be devastating. But not only top-class tournaments, but even at lower level they need to be avoided. So, it should be learned what technical knowledge you should have to avoid them to make sure a cinema can become a successful gaming venue. Also, how suitable are they as venues?
Certainly, a place in cinema, but only if backed by the technology. Hosting major tournaments demands high connectivity.
There are examples of cinema venues that are adapted for gaming and eSports. These are a few setups that are purposefully built for gamers. They have one converted screen dedicated to gaming action. Some others have warm-up spaces for players.
According to experts, given the decline in retail, there would be more and more retail and cinema spaces used as permanent eSports locations. Their fixedness means that they don’t need rigging or digging, they would be possibly more centrally positioned and above all, they would enable multi-player set ups.
It’s understandable if one thinks that such a venue would need a sizeable investment to establish. However, some experts say that although such existing venues incur substantial expenses for their broadcast technology, some other costs are not as large as one might think, because cinema design doesn’t allow much movement in the screen since as it is, people come there to watch movies.
What’s it all About?
It may surprise some, that when event operators hire cinema to put on a pop-up gaming night, they need to carry the required kit with them which includes everything from cabling to gaming seats and consoles and these things aren’t (usually) the venue’s lookout.
Such a person who acts as an event operator, while looking at a cinema or other venue for a gaming night, need to mainly consider the physical design and available space in that established cinema. A cinema’s layout doesn’t permit much movement in a screen (and why would it when people are usually there to watch films), but space is essential for a (gaming) event because of the need to accommodate additional people like commentators and press reporters.
Actually, this is also an important consideration for a place wishing to adapt any of its screens fixedly to a gaming tournament. If it’s not, experts say, the space in front of the house should be considered, although this area is key to establish the tone for the event. For instance, audio in the hall needs to be heard by the audience to keep them well-informed about the live-action play, but the commentary should not be audible to players, as it can distract them from their gaming strategies.
Aspiring event operators looking for arranging gaming in cinema say that they would like to ask the cinema venues about the physical design of the cinema, the available power circuit, the LAN/the connectivity and the ventilation system.
They add that a cinema converting itself to a fixed gaming arena would clearly have to invest in its own kit and the necessary computer specifications, consoles etc. would need a certain standard. But these costs are relatively manageable. It may just need some research.
Sponsors and Partners
When it comes to expenses like PCs, gaming chairs, even player uniforms (applicable mainly to high-level contests), relevant sponsors would have to be explored. Sponsors will usually agree to offer branded items, which will save the operator’s money, but will gain exposure to themselves.
Connectivity: An Essential for Speed
Clearly, internet connectivity is possibly the most important issue for any aspiring gaming venue. Although there is a misconception about old cinema buildings are tough to connect to the modern world, experts say that it’s the location and infrastructure that decide how strong the internet connection would be. They insist that cinemas should not use guest Wi-Fi for gaming. According to them, cinemas should have a dedicated, wired connection physically or technically separated from the accessible network. This cannot be the public Wi-Fi, as it’s just too undependable. People streaming live to YouTube or Facebook, shooting videos or even the weather can affect performance.
A leading content director explains what is at stake. They say that games that need split second reactions, such as CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) or with hundreds of people playing Fortnite simultaneously need efficient connectivity. Tremendous pressure from a high volume of actions can cause disaster for players. They further say if it can’t avoid a shared network, there should be a dedicated IT management team supervising this, who are capable of solving issues if they arise.
Is this Achievable for Cinemas?
According to experts, the more cinemas are considered as gaming venues, the more it makes sense. They regularly deal with large groups of people in custom-built, comfortable auditoria, providing a high-spec audio-visual experience. If connectivity isn’t a problem, they would already buy into this as a concept.
The concept may need more research and outside-the-box thinking, but still these types of cinema-gaming projects are taking place and are adapting well to the available environment. Thus, the future of cinema-gaming seems to be bright.