Populous unique PWR Facility metaverse launch


Esports training facility has now been created in the metaverse Image: Populous

The PWR Facility, a first-of-its-kind architecturally designed elite esports training and content facility, has launched in the metaverse.

‘Populous’ stated that along with Populous, the world-first project collaboration to design and develop an elite esports training facility has now been created in Fortnite and was launched on July 7th.

Fortnite is a survival game where 100 players fight against each other in player versus player combat to be the last one standing. It is a fast-paced, action-packed game, not unlike The Hunger Games, where strategic thinking is a must in order to survive. There are an estimated 125 million players on Fortnite.

Kansas City (US)-based Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events. Populous was created through a management buyout in January 2009, becoming independently owned and operated.

Christopher Lee, Managing Director EMEA Populous, UK, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

‘Populous’ further stated that the project was born from an idea of one of Australia’s most successful gaming content creators, Lachlan Power and his team, who originally envisaged the creation of a high performance content and gaming facility that could be built in the real world, but before anything, experienced in Fortnite.

The brand new facility is designed specifically for PWR’s internal team and the wider gaming community to socialize, experience an elite training space, test the design choices in the building, and interact with the facility before it has been built.

With the world of esports rapidly evolving, Populous has spearheaded the conversation around the design of world-class facilities for esports gamers to physically gather on a grand scale. Completed esports arena projects include the 2,500-capacity Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas, the 3,500-capacity planned multiuse facility located in Philadelphia – the Fusion Arena, Nerd Street Gaming, video arcade Fortress Melbourne (Australia) and their new esports entertainment and gaming hospitality expansion into Fortress Sydney.

Combining Populous’ knowledge and experience in designing elite training facilities and esports arenas, Populous has now created the PWR Facility that is unlike anything in the metaverse.

Senior Principal and Architect, Populous, Al Baxter, said there were no constraints in designing this project which gave the team a whole lot of freedom to do something special – “When we first spoke with PWR we wanted to explore how we could use their brand in the actual form of the building itself to create that ‘wow’ connection between the brand’s form and shape and the building. You get a sense of journey and anticipation when arriving at the PWR Facility. You walk into an amazing central collaboration space that can be seen from all areas of the facility. There are key spaces like the multifunctional event area, Lachlan’s office, the boardroom, broadcast and virtual reality (VR) streaming studios, the content creator’s editing suite and esports gamers training space on the upper level which is all connected to the central space. On the ground floor is the merchandise area and operational spaces.”

PWR will use the facility created in Fortnite as the hub for all things PWR and hopes that as the capabilities of Fortnite’s metaverse expands, its functionality will evolve into a place to bring people together to celebrate the gaming experiences PWR creates every day. For a limited time, gamers will also be able to purchase the Fortnite Icon Outfits of Kathleen ‘Loserfruit’ Belsten and Lachlan from within the merchandise store inside the facility.

Put in Power, “Together, PWR and Populous have created a purpose-built training and content facility which expresses the PWR brand. It is intrinsically designed to exist and be experienced both in the virtual world and one day we hope to see it built in reality.”

Another focus for the project was to design a place where content creators could learn and refine their craft and encourage esports gamers to train to develop stronger health and wellbeing opportunities, an important priority for Lachlan.

Added Power, “Professional gamers, esports athletes and content creators need places that promote their long-term growth and development. In creating the PWR Facility we acknowledged the need to create intentional spaces that promote the health, wellbeing and performance of our people. From the gymnasium to the active social areas and the café, we wanted to demonstrate that this facility has been designed by a team specialized in creating elite training facilities so that we can optimize the performance and creativity for our athletes and creators.”

Populous has designed 180+ elite training centers for some of the biggest teams around the world. As Baxter explained, successful training facilities need to reflect the culture of the community they are designed for – “To create a high-performance organization or club, incidental interactions need to occur where members of the team and the players are more accessible to each other to encourage more conversations and connections. This collaboration is where innovation happens and we really wanted to reflect that in the design of the PWR Facility.”

According to the latest industry trends report by Newzoo (the global standard for games data), esports saw an uptick in new users during the pandemic as consumers spend increasingly more time in virtual worlds. By 2024, there is expected to be almost 286 million esports enthusiasts worldwide, a vast increase from the 197 million in 2019. Additionally, some 291.6 million people are forecast to be occasional viewers of esports by 2024.

In 2021, Newzoo reported the global esports market was valued at just over US$1.08 billion, an almost 50 percent increase from the previous year. Additionally, the esports industry’s global market revenue was forecast to grow to as much as US$1.62 billion in 2024.

As competitive video games continue to integrate into popular culture, global investors, brands and media outlets are all paying attention to the metaverse as more viewers tune in to watch their favorite games being played by some of the best gamers in the world.

On July 7th, 2022, members of PWR, Populous and Epic Games participated in the pre-launch reveal and panel discussion held at the ESI Esports Insider Conference in Singapore.

Panel participants included Dean Reinhard from Epic Games, Billy Young from PWR and Brayden Goodwin and Luke Woolley from Populous who presented an exclusive sneak peek preview of the new home of PWR and spoke about how esports teams and brands are collaborating in the metaverse.

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