New esports arena opens in Columbus

The brand new Belong Esports Arena near Polaris Fashion Place aims to become a premier destination for local video game players.

Driving the news: The arena held its grand opening on Friday and offered free play to customers over the weekend.

Why is this important: Esport, or competitive video games, is a booming industry that is particularly popular among young players.

How it works: Belong offers a chance to play in a professional environment, with 72 high-speed gaming stations with high-tech peripherals.

  • Players can compete against each other or through online play.

Inventory: The company operates 27 esports arenas in the UK. Columbus marks its third location in the United States, with hundreds more planned in the coming years.

  • Each has their own unique team name and their own original brand – we are the Polaris pilots, a reference to Ohio aviation history.
  • The teams representing each arena will eventually participate in leagues organized by Belong and other major tournaments.

What they say : Belong hopes to attract players for both the sense of community and the games, says Bob Morris, manager of the company’s arena opening.

  • Casual gamers looking for a cooler gaming environment than what they have at home can pay by the hour, with monthly subscriptions available for more serious gamers.

The plot: There will be a “path to the pro” system for pilots to gain experience and one day compete as a top player, Morris says.

  • Gambling can be a lucrative career for elite players with many social media followers vying for big prize pools.
The Belong Esports Arena offers 72 stations, each equipped with high-end gaming technology.

during this time, the site includes a retail section with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft games and consoles, as well as Pilots products for sale.

  • Belong touts its private party rooms and unique retail experience of trying out games in the arena before you buy them.

The big picture: Columbus is a “hotspot” for esports, Morris said, noting championship events held at the Nationwide Arena and the Convention Center in recent years.

Go further: After discovering the arena and taking a tour, the only thing left for Axios to do was try out a playstation.

Tyler here. I’m a little more old-school in my video game tastes, but I had to take advantage of being one of the very first Polaris pilots.

  • Jose Gloria, arena manager for the Belong location in Dallas, was on hand for the grand opening and showed me the offers.

How it works: Each PC station comes with a range of popular games including Call of Duty, Fortnite, Magic the Gathering, Minecraft, and World of Warcraft.

  • An impressive slate, but I don’t know how to play any of them. (Think Jim from The Office trying to play Call of Duty at work.)
A playstation in an esports arena, with various PC peripherals.
Each Belong PC gaming station is equipped with high-end peripherals.

What i played: Fall Guys, a lighter title compared to some of the other shooting games.

  • You play as one of the 60 big little characters who run to the end of an obstacle course sequence.
  • The goal is to be the last player standing.

How i did: I passed the easy stages and ended up in the final with 10 other players from around the world later.

  • Would I take an Axios victory over Jose and kick off the Drivers’ world domination?
  • I passed very close with a second place. Not bad!

Quick setting: The sophisticated gaming chair and the ergonomic mouse… I can see why people would love this place. I come back soon.

If you are going to: Belong Esports Arena is open seven days a week at 8735 Lyra Drive, Columbus.

  • Playground rentals start at $ 2.50; day passes start at $ 17.50.

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