Gaming has proven to extend well beyond the adolescent years for most diehards, often turning into a lifelong hobby, a comfortable fallback as a break from “adulting,” a profitable career choice and even a global network for eSports enthusiasts.
eSports Arena, Orange County’s 200-video game station hub and auditorium for eSports, is crossing the digital boundaries of the hardcore gaming world to offer an immersive entertainment experience with the addition of electronic dance music. The eSports Music Experience—or EMX, the newest sector of eSports Arena—will be hosting its first of many events this weekend at the company’s headquarters in Santa Ana to bridge the gap between the virtual world of gaming and dance music, according to William Morris, director of EMX.
“eSports Arena offers a unique situation for kids to come [to the eSports Arena] at their own leisure to play games and build a global community close to home,” said Morris. “With EMX, we are adding icing to the cake and pulling artistic inspiration from the fan bases in eSports and combining it with 360-degree experience events that tie directly into music programming for an after show. We are one of the first if not the first to do this in North America.”
This weekend’s hybrid debut event includes “Smash Brothers 4” ‘s “Civil War” video game competition as well as world renowned artist performances by Aero Chord, Cray, Yntendo, Pegboard Nerds, Audrey Napolean, Titus and more. Even if you are unable to attend the event, interested music devotees can tune in to watch the live stream via TwitchTV, an online video platform that focuses on gaming broadcasting.
“There are huge LAN parties in Europe (The Gathering, Dreamhack and Revision) that have been going on for 15 to 20 years where electronic music is an integral part of the event on many levels,” said Alex Odden of Pegboard Nerds. “There are music compos, live shows and the participants themselves blast music every day through the event while playing games. It’s only been growing. 20 years ago it was only bonafide “nerds” that went and no girls. At one point, they started advertising with “free entrance for girls” to attract them, but now it’s the cool thing to go to and there’s been a huge influx of people.”
The EMX parties will also offer local OC musicians and DJ’s an opportunity to open for labeled and touring acts as well as reach millions of viewers with TwitchTV’s live stream in a separate, but related niche.
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“I’m a huge advocate for supporting the local gallop,” said Morris, a 10-year music industry veteran and editorial entrepreneur who started with Dirtybird Records and later co-founded what is now the UK-based EDM publication Data Transmission. “My industry connections will be beneficial in bringing headliners who will draw people to these events, but the supporting talent will always be local artists and kids who want to showcase their music. We are providing them a platform to do it.”
In addition to the mixed events with eSports, EMX will be hosting two additional recurring experiences including a weekly music industry and media invite-only networking event that will focus on music programming as well as bi-monthly concerts with EDM artists. The visionary build out also includes a touring semi-truck with a built-in eSports arena and stage as well as a soon-to-be launched channel on Dash Radio that will speak to the same demographics as Data Transmission. New eSports Arena and EMX locations are in the blueprint too, with a secondary facility expected to open in Oakland this summer.
For the full schedule and set times for the artists at this weekend’s event as well as ticket pricing, visit the EMX website for details. Artists, press, photographers and vendors interested in covering an EMX event or are interested in performing should reach out to William Morris directly at William@esportsarena.com. For news related to EMX’s upcoming events, industry networking nights and new location announcements, follow the company’s Facebook page. To watch the live stream of the weekend-long event, visit Twitch TV’s EMX channel here. Although the EMX portion of the event is included in the competitor pass for “Civil War,” attendees can purchase the “EMX pass” which allows access to the music portion each day.