As an interior designer, I watch trends closely, as they can play an influential role in the work that I do. For instance, fashion trends often inspire the color palettes people want to incorporate into their homes. Similarly, the way people respond to technology trends is something I pay close attention to and find inspiration in. Such was the case recently when I had a profound realization that there was a trend rapidly emerging that I wanted to lean into.
According to the LA Times, Esports — video games as a competitive sport — are now offered at more than 170 universities across North America. Not far from where I live, the University of Southern California (USC) and UC Irvine have a coaching staff and uniformed squads playing in leagues. These highly competitive matches are played in dedicated Esports arenas filled with rows of computer stations and massive screens displaying the action for the audience both in-person and online. Typically based on popular games like Overwatch 2, Rocketleague, Valorant, and League of Legends, these events already have a huge following, and the interest in them and Esports in general is growing, especially with the 40 and under crowd and those with kids in school.
At CEDIA Expo, I met Todd Astill of Nerve.tv in Park City, Utah, who is capitalizing on this trend. He shared that his business is very different from a traditional integrator and talked about how Esports, gaming, and multisport simulators have reshaped his approach to residential technology integration. Naturally, a trend combining tech and design immediately caught my attention.
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As Todd shared with me, when Covid came about, many of his clients wanted to entertain at home. The demand for theaters grew tenfold and interest in Esports gaming environments and golf simulators skyrocketed. He’s been successfully designing rooms that serve as both a dedicated cinema space and a multi-sport simulator room. These rooms are actually “cinema without compromise,” he says, with full Dolby Atmos immersive sound, great seating, and a giant screen. “It’s amazing how relevant the rooms have become because everyone in the household has a stake in them,” he says.
I was immediately hooked. So, this past fall, we began collaborating to take his offering to the next level. Together, we’ve developed a beautiful room with a lot of interesting details and finishes that can also be used as a theater, a place to practice golf, and for gaming and Esports. The philosophy behind this is that the same room can easily accommodate all of these activities and, when thoughtfully designed with the right finishes, furnishings, materials, and tech specs in mind, can make any gamer feel like they’re in a dedicated Esports environment that’s as fun and comfortable as one could imagine. Consoles with monitors for those actively gaming and rows of seats for the audience, with all of the action appearing on a giant screen with fantastic audio and acoustics. Sounds fun, right?
The way we view it, a true high-end cinema can, in many ways, offer the ideal experience for gaming as well, because the acoustics, the envelope of sound, and the ability to be fully immersed in the content are what movies and concerts are all about. Therefore, this is not just a new offering but a new approach to selling something people already know about and many still desire, but are challenged by the price-to-use ratio. As Todd notes, “Being immersed in a game in a sound-treated room, with, let’s say 24 channels of Dolby Atmos sound and massive subwoofers, a 20-foot ultra-wide screen, and seating for a crowd just takes the experience to a level most can’t conceive of until they’ve experienced it.”
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I’m hooked on this concept and can’t wait for the big reveal. Renderings will be available soon and we’ll debut this new offering later this Spring.
To me, this is a great illustration of what is possible when we take a step back and look at ways of not just selling people the same old thing, but truly enhancing their lifestyle. That’s more than a trend; it’s a foundation for success, in my opinion.
Want to be on the list to learn more about these new room designs and be one the first to know when we debut them? Send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll put you on the list!