Professional gaming and e-sports gets a new home in Barcelona
Unique to Europe, the International Gaming Center brings a competition arena, video and photo studio, and workspaces together under the one roof
The Barcelona International Gaming Center (BIGC) is up and running in the city’s Poblenou district, a space totally unique to Europe according to Jean Sebastien Ventura, promoter of the project.
The Barcelona International Gaming Center brings together a cluster of companies, a high-performance e-sports center, and professional video and photo shooting space all under the one roof. At the moment, five different firms are renting co-working spaces.
The world of e-sports, competitive video gaming, has seen an enormous boom over the past few years, growing into an industry valued at around one billion euro in Spain, with many clubs and structures in operation, such as the Professional Video Game League (LVP).
Traditional sports clubs such as FC Barcelona are also entering the e-sports world, attempting to connect with the club's youngest fans and develop new business models.
Jean Sebastien Ventura, a French businessman specializing in the world of television and the son of a Poblenou native, tells the Catalan News Agency that “such a place does not exist in Europe.”
The center is open to all companies that want to use it, something not common in a sector where the focus is usually on centers for specific teams. The world of e-sports being "a very closed community" that is now opening up and professionalizing, according to Ventura.
The intention of the Barcelona International Gaming Center is to "create a bridge between the digital world and the real, traditional, institutional world" that "are not well understood."
The facilities in the center available for companies to use are aimed at helping this sector to continue growing and seek alliances with the "real world".
“E-sports needs a lot of content, which is why we have recording sets, an arena for competitions, offices, a leisure and events area, a gym, physiotherapy and nutrition services,” Ventura explains.
Professionals partaking in video game competition "need to be in good physical condition and health because they are athletes," he insists.
Open for two months already, the centre has already hosted various competitions including the semi-finals of the e-football league organized by the Catalan Football Federation.
Industry strengthened in the pandemic
The project began five years ago when Ventura sold his television company in France and decided to move to Barcelona to set up a recording studio in a warehouse in Poblenou.
The studio idea then transformed into a space exclusively for e-sports, one of the few sports that, due to its digital nature, has come out of the pandemic strengthened.
E-sports have seen their numbers improve exponentially since the start of the pandemic. With regular fans between the ages of 15 and 25, video game competitions have had no trouble adapting to a world where everything had to be done electronically.