August 10, 2020

eXeField Akiba opening event

eXeField Akiba is a new e-sports facility in Akihabara, located in the Akihabara UDX building. It is part of NTT eSports, and they had an opening ceremony 2020-08-10. The video is above. I'll add some simple running commentary with just a basic overview of what is going on.

28:35 Watch that opening movie. Now this is e-sports! e-Sports creates the new society!

29:22 Kishi Taiga is the MC, he's done other e-sports things before, he is a caster and involved in various gaming things. I believe he has done some EVO JP things as well. He explains that the video is primarily to introduce the facility and walk around it, but they have some virtual stuff planned too.

30:34 Kagechhi is the VP of NTT e-Sports, and has his roots in the FGC (3rd Strike primarily, but I don't know that history well.) He's introduced as Vice President Kagesawa. If you have ever been to Fighter's Crossover -Akiba- (the long-running SFV weekly in Akihabara) he's the guy that runs that. The goal of the facility is to let people enjoy playing, creating, and spreading eSports. They split the screen and show the real place on the left and a virtual space on the right - including a virtual Kagecchi. They pan around and Kishi talks about how most e-sports spaces have been enclosed, black, not super inviting, but this place is bright and has a lot of glass. They designed it so lots of people would be able to see what is going on, and be an open and inviting space.

32:54 They introduce the streaming area first, which has lots of equipment you would need for streaming and is intended to be used to stream nationwide online events. Usually these areas are hidden, but this is intentionally out in the open. He wants people to see the behind the scenes folk that put in the work and see how awesome all of that is. Thank you 10-0 guys, Spooky people, and tech heads the world over. They expect there will be more jobs in e-sports in the future, and this is one way to show what some of those are and get people interested and involved.

34:37 The next area they move to is the "main area" where the games are played. They talk about the triangular tables, which were chosen to maximize the (not super large) space, to allow easy cable access by dropping the cables down, and to allow flexibility when setting the space up for tournaments or other events. They show different layouts playing sessions, seminars, or showroom type settings. They have a variety of lighting setups, and can do smoke in the virtual setting but not in the real one (building regs.)

39:41 The show the Cafe space. Kagecchi said he put a lot of effort into the Cafe, and he approved all the items on the menu - it is a tie-up with Ginza Suehiro, a restaurant company that runs a bunch of restaurants / cafes / etc. They also have a machine that do latte art.

42:17 They show off the entrance area, with a reception desk and the Information Communication Technology (ICT) area - basically a showroom for ICT and gaming technology. You can also buy things there, and they also have a tie-up with Amazon in the virtual space. They head back to the gaming area and show off the 20 moving lights, and the largest LED screen in Akihabara (6.2 meters) - that thing looks nice and doesn't have the bezels you see when multiple monitors / projectors are joined together. The screen also has multiple layout modes for dealing with many inputs.

46:47 They talk about the eXeLAB platform, which is a service that NTT e-sports is putting together. The goal is to be a one stop solution for community / player communication (user profiles, community tools, lobbies, tournament brackets). They will release in August, and have a roadmap for continued development. They also introduce a service for helping teach others about games - it is hard to improve just by watching videos, it can be hard to find people to play with, so this is a service to help address that problem. The slides look like they are aimed at showing the positive qualities of competitive gaming, e.g., teaching one how to think, make fast judgements, concentrate and focus, put in deliberate practice, improve communication and teamwork, which lead to feelings of success and continued fervor for improvement. Not just online, but holding events offline at eXeField, etc. Kishi-san also talks about older people who want to improve and have fun, and I feel personally attacked.

49:35 They talk about the concept of the Local 5g Lab, a communications infrastructure lab developed in partnership with Tokyo University. They also talk about the Smart Innovation Lab -WA- which is concerned with the internet of things and using AI to develop new innovations. They close the segment with Kagecchi talking about how they want to build the facility up with the community.

52:30 They have a special exhibition match of Winning 11 (Soccer) - which is a JeSU licensed game by Konami. They connect up some remote sites (Chofu and Sendai - showing the networking infrastructure). The Chofu location is where the Local 5g Lab is based on the signage.

1:23:25 The closing comments.

I'm looking forward to visiting eXeField Akiba. Hopefully offline events will be safe to hold sometime in the near future.


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