Recently opened in Burbank, California, Blizzard Arena is a new state-of-the-art e-gaming theater. The 50,000-square-foot auditorium is built on the former NBC Studios, where "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and "Deal or No Deal" were filmed.
Recently I was invited to tour this incredible broadcast facility, and try my hand at playing Overwatch on stage. Here's what happened.
This small green-screen studio, just off of Studio 1, was built for more detailed commentary and analysis. Computers in this room receive a constant stream of in-game stats, which commentators use on the fly.
There are plenty of mobile camera operators, too, to capture all the drama of live competition. It was pretty neat watching them roam the stage as they captured trial matches between press, live-streamers and visitors as a dry run for the opening event.
I got to play an Overwatch match on the main stage, which was pretty surreal. Though I'm a filthy PS4-playing casual, I still managed to score a couple of wins muddling through PC controls playing Soldier 76.
Pro gamers are treated like real Hollywood celebrities at Blizzard Arena. Players get their own dressing rooms (with showers). Their hair and makeup are done here, in the same room once used by Johnny Carson.
Afterward, I got a look inside the owner's box on the second floor, which overlooks the main stage. The area comes with a well-stocked mini-fridge (and plenty of beer), and a pair of private bathrooms.
You can imagine an Overwatch team owner such as Robert Kraft or DJ Steve Aoki watching a game from here.