Fortress Esports has today (Tuesday) announced plans for the southern hemisphere’s largest video gaming and entertainment venue, which will be developed at the Emporium Melbourne shopping centre.

Fortress Melbourne will span more than 2,700 square metres across two floors and will open in early 2020. The venue will feature over 160 gaming PCs, console gaming suites, dedicated streamer pods and RPG and a tabletop game play area, along with function rooms, a full-service restaurant, two bars and a 200-seat, purpose-built esports arena with production facilities.

Fortress Esports has partnered with US-based Allied Esports on the venture. Allied Esports operates the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas and will lend expertise to Fortress Esports in areas relating to global event programming, development and operation.

Fortress Esports will work with leading architecture firm Populous to transform the current basement and lower-ground space at Emporium Melbourne.

The arena will be complemented by an esports ‘sports’ bar, while other features of the venue will include a themed tavern bar and restaurant, a professional esports boot camp room and training facilities, at least five big screens across both floors, purpose-built casual gaming suites and a merchandise store with esports apparel and tech.

Fortress Esports chief executive Jon Satterley said: “Melbourne has become the epicentre for video gaming and esports culture with major events like Melbourne Esports Open and PAX Australia, so we’re excited to be opening our first flagship venue in Melbourne and offer Australians a unique entertainment space that they can enjoy all year round.

“We want to make Fortress Melbourne the ultimate ‘home away from home’ for everyone, from casual gamers, competitive gamers and esports fanatics, to families and after work crowds. Fortress Melbourne will offer the best video gaming experiences and entertainment, with the newest tech, fastest internet, comfortable decor, great food and drinks, and a rich calendar of events and tournaments, plus more.”

Carolyn Viney, chief development officer at Vicinity Centres, which manages Emporium Melbourne, added: “We are always looking at new, unique experiences to offer our customers and with the global phenomenon of esports rapidly gaining fans in Australia, Emporium Melbourne’s city location makes it the obvious choice for an esports arena and gaming venue that will cater to all audiences.

“This exciting first for entertainment venues reflects Melbourne’s standing as the cultural and events capital of Australia and cements Emporium Melbourne as a market-leading retail, dining and entertainment destination in the CBD.”

Fortress Esports plans on building additional locations in Australia and New Zealand over the coming years.

Images: Allied Esports