A 15,000-seat video gaming arena is planned as the centerpiece of a US.8 billion theme park proposed by Hong Kong-based developer Lai Fung Group on Macau’s neighboring Hengqin Island.
The park, to be called the V-Zone, was conceived about a year ago, when Lai Fung approached AEA Consulting, a New York-based arts and culture firm, for ideas for a plot the group had purchased on the island.
“We started with a blank sheet of paper, and we were looking for what would be the fastest-growing field in the world,” says Chew Fook Aun, Lai Fung’s chairman. AEA suggested several potential targets, including music and cars. “The trends were with video gaming,” says Chew.
Indeed, more than 500 million people in China play video games, and about 145 million of them play more than an hour daily, according to Eedar, a market research firm. In addition to playing games, an increasing number of people like to watch. Live gaming competitions such as those to be staged at the new arena on Hengqin periodically fill arenas and draw huge online audiences. A League of Legends competition last November attracted 32 million viewers, and a “Call of Duty” tournament last month included a US$1 million prize purse.
Hengqin, which lies in the Pearl River Delta adjacent to the booming casino enclave, has drawn about $22 billion worth of investments in commercial, residential and leisure developments, including a large amusement park and several planned non-gaming hotels, and is seen as evolving into a major conduit for visitors from mainland China to Macau.