Esports & Architecture

Professor Andy Miah
4 min readJul 10, 2020

In 2017, the architects at Populous published a concept video about the future of the esports industry, which described a world in which spectators would travel to an extraordinary, digital and interactive ‘gaming village’, full of complex projection mapping experiences, and an array of interactive, connected encounters with technology.

This proposition remains the most compelling visualisation the world has seen of how media architecture is transforming the physical arena experience. In these radical buildings, every surface is a digital screen or an LED light array, with graphics, animations, and gaming content layered into almost all spaces, creating a cacophony of light and sound, interspersed with branded gaming content for all to see.

The target audience for these ideas goes far beyond Esports and shows to mega event hosts more widely how all future arenas can receive a digital makeover with an entirely new way of thinking about the audience experience, beyond simply their allocated seat in an auditorium, towards a connected stadium experience where the action is encountered wherever they may be within the complex.

In this way, the design also beautifully embodies the aspirations of mega event producers in recent years, who have sought to transform stadium experiences into porous venues, where visitors can encounter content wherever they are within the physical grounds, not just while they are in their allocated seats.

We see such desires also to maximise revenue in the creation of live sites at sports events, which have become hugely popular venues in their own right, showing screen projection of the sporting content, alongside a raft of other activities for spectators to enjoy.

But what lies below the surface is a series of transformations to the physical event industry that may be described as the creation of transmedia architecture. This concept draws together work within the field of media architecture with processes of transmedia storytelling found commonly in practices of media content creation. Esports is an expression of these converging worlds, which explains in part why it is such a compelling proposition for designers, architects, and media innovators.

Professor Andy Miah

Chair in Science Communication & Future Media @SalfordUni / written 4 Washington Post, Wired + found on CNN, BBC Newsnight, TEDx #posthuman