**I guess my English is not good enough for writing my impression. I also try to study English by writing this article, so I'd be very happy if you would correct my English.
On 2014, the 25th of January, "e-sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" the facility specializing in e-Sports finally made an advance to Akihabara, where is the mecca of game cultures.
"e-Sports" stands for "Electronic Sports", Meaning the culture take games as a competition to enjoy "competing with other players",
"e-Sports SQUARE" opened as specialized facility for that "e-sports" cultures in Ichikawa on 2011, since then had been thriving in the hosting gaming events with the communication between players.
But the 25th of December on 2013, "e-Sports SQUARE" has shut down its business with the two years of its history to make a giant step to Akihabara.
Now what kind of world were spread in the inside of the "e-Sport SQUARE AKIHABARA"? I'd like to report it with the photos below.
A view from the outside of the facility. It is located on the 2nd floor of the building having the Live space of "Twin Box Akihabara" on the 1st floor.
A flag and Logo on the stairs in the front of the building, and is easy to notice..
This is entrance. The clear glass door looks cool. You can see the desk and flowers of the celebration of new open through the glass.
You can see this desk right after entering.
The entrance is decorated with the flower from its parent company "Sanko Partners", sponsored companies and related e-Sports team.
The box of "G-tune" in the back are the locker which costs 100 yen to deposit.
You can use Life Card, Visa, Master Card from among credit cards.
There is a big poster of "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" in front of elevator.
The notebook with the logo of "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" are displayed in the desk. They aren't on sale at present. But they said it is considered to sell the products with the model of "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" in future.
The 1st visitor need to create the member card of it. You need to fill out informations like full names, date of birth, E-mail, address, phone number, occupation by the tablet.
Because just I'm not used to use the tablet, it took 5 minutes to just fill out the required informations. It would be much more smooth if I could use other way such as keyboard, handwriting to fill out it.
The fees including computer, food and drink are recorded in this member card and the bill will be paid together when the customer is leaving.
It is very convenient that not necessary to take your wallet out for your every order.
This is the guide of the service. The customer can choose to use pc with per-hour fee or just enter in cafe for observation and communication without per-hour fee.
This is the fee structure. It is opened from 11AM until 24PM. The customers can get free computer use for 2 hours by ordering a food or drink in between 11AM and 17PM on the weekdays. It is available in total of eight hours if you choose six hours-pack and 1 drink (2,380 Yen, is about $23). In comparison to the internet-cafe named "I-cafe", it costs 2,580yen (is about $25) for nine hours at the daytime on weekdays.
They are staffs of "e-sports SQUARE AKIHABARA"! You don't need to worry if you're a foreigner because there is a german staff who speaks English fluently.
I also took a photo of myself to take advantage of this opportunity
There is divided into 3 large sections in the facility: The stage, commentary and the seats allowed eating and drinking, Bar and cafe.
You can see the gaming seats and the stage on the left from the desk. There is the seats where 10 computers facing each five computers together and the stage where is a big screen and the two set of five computers for competition on the stage. Spare computers are behind here so it is available to set the two set of seven computers on the stage when holding an event. Only drinking is allowed on those seats.
This is a view of the gaming seats installed the ROCCAT Device. There are streamed the e-Sports introduction video which is broadcast in the press party of "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" on the 24th of January, the video from sponsored companies, and the Starcraft2 documentary movie "State of Play" on the big screen.
The special edition stitching the logo of the "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" of gaming chair of "DX Racer", the sponsor of e-Sports company/teams such as "WCG 2014", Korean Progaming Team "Indrecible Miracle", are set for every gaming seat.
A view of the outside of gaming seats on the stage. They are covered by the soundproof acrylic dividers in front of the computers.
A view from the inside of gaming seats on the stage. I tried this seat for this opportunity. The customer can play games with the feel of pro-gamer.
There is a pit for cables so you don't need to worry about tangling the cables.
There is a good space for putting your baggage under the desk.
A view from the seat on the stage, it feels like near-future.
The big screen in the facility looks powerful like the theater.
*Matters of the seats on the stage
Now customers can enjoy the air of the big tournament in the seats covered by the soundproof acrylic dividers on the stage.
However I found some matters with it.
1: The acrylic dividers reflects the video on the screen
Because this acrylic dividers are easy to be reflected so the video on the screen in back appears on it. Not only it bothers the user playing games inside, but also have a risk of giving information for players in tournaments.
2: Soundproof is not perfect
Certainly it become soft volume from the surroundings inside of the seats on the stage but still as not good enough as you can talk with people through the divider. The problem "players can hear the commentary" often occur in the abroad offline tournament though, I hope "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" will find the answer of it.
There is seats and 3 computers for broadcasting on the left side of down the stage. These seats are not available for the public. They said that customers can rent the operators, the equipment and so on for broadcasting in the event.
This photo looks not easy to recognize but it is a speaker. Two speakers placed on the both side of the central gaming seats to play out commentaries.
From commentary seats, there are sofa seats, "e-sports cafe", and 5 computers seats on the both side of this sectoin. Eating and drinking are allowed in this section.
Sofa seats are made for playing console game and set two PS3.
"Tekken Tag Tournament 2", "Winning Eleven 2014", "Soul Calibur 5".
Two console controller on the opposite.
A bar and cafe. There's a screen nearby so you can watch the game while eating.
The lunch menu from the 11AM until 17PM. If you order sth at this hour you can get free use of computer for 2 hours.
Alcoholic drinks and snacks are available after 17PM.
The drink collaborated with "G-Tune-Chan" which is the mascot character of "G-tune", the brand of gaming computer of mouse computer are on sale.
There are seven screens in total so you can watch the match everywhere in the place.
Five computer seats on the both side of section. It looks great for playing 5 vs 5 team game like "League of Legends".
I ordered recommended Taco-rice. Plenty vegetables and it's not too spicy, it taste delicious eating rice and soft boiled egg in mixing.
This is the head chef Mr.Minamigawa. He had been working in the restaurant so aren't familiar with the game cultures much. But if there's no veteran chef it could be very hard for "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA". Now he manages everything about dishes in it.
'We wanted to make the place where players can enjoy the communication with others' Interview of Ryuzo Inoue, the manager of the "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA".
I interviewed for Mr. Inoue, the manager of the facility. Mr. Inoue came "e-Sports SQUARE" in Ichikawa to work as manager after a year of its open. He has been working as the manager ever since. He sometimes plays "Staracraft2" too.
--Congratulations for new open! It seemed like near-future design.
Inoue: Thank you. This design is the answer of player's feedback in Ichikawa such as "hights of the desk and chair", "Wiring of computers".
We set the three device makers "ROCCAT", "Logitech", "MAD CATZ". We'd like to set the products of many gaming device makers in the future.
--It increased the numbers of "ROCCAT" compared to Ichikawa.
Inoue: Yes. "ROCCAT" said that "We'd like to support the e-Sports scene in Japan" when we discuss about opening "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" so they decided to provide us equipments with the enjoyment of their products for players.
--How many computers/consoles can be lined up in an event?
Inoue: We can line about 50 computers up in max. Meaning two more seats of 10 computers, three seats in total. We can increase from two sets of five computers to two sets of seven computers on the stage too. Though only PS3 is available for Seats for console, but we can set over 15 PS3s in max. Besides "Tekken Tag Tournament 2", "Winning Eleven 2014", "Soul Calibur 5", We'd like to cover more console game titles. Saying about console games, as following of Daigo came to the press party, fighting game players often come here.
--The big screen is as powerful as movie theater. However, I worry about the reflection and the sound to the seats on the stage. How will you deal with these problem?
Inoue: We're going to care about that because it is most important problem for the players.
We also could make the stage as the place specialized for competing between players and do things for example 'Set seats in the back of the screen', 'Make on the seats on the stage into box-type seat'. However, We can't achieve our purpose that 'To make the place for communication to popularize the e-Sports cultures' in that way so we put much value on to make an open space to let players get together.
Regarding the reflection, We're planning to put the curtain to shut the light.
As for sound problem, we set the directional speakers so players are less likely to hear the sounds. Though I guess there still exists the problem that player still can hear the sounds, it isn't flexible when it comes to prepare for many types of events if we set the box-type seat just like South Korea. This is a problem which way should we choose for example ‘a box for each one player’, or ‘a box for five players’. That's why we took the way to set acrylic dividers.
--Do you have any plan to hold an event in the future?
Inoue: Besides gaming events, We're going to start the tournament of "League of Legends" named "LoL Japan League" from the 9th of February.
We'd like to hold "Barcraft" because this place is designed for watching and communicating more than just playing. (PS: The 11th of February it will hold barcraft event.)
You can use here to get gather in small group because it is free to researve seats in the max of seven.
--Thank you for taking time out for my interview today.
My Impression: New place to have relationship between gamers.
Designed like near-future. Personally, it reminds me the internet cafe named "hahalife cyber cafe" in Taiwan.
Seeming moved from Ichikawa where is outside of central area of Tokyo to Akihabara where is center of gaming cultures and has good access to transportation, makes it really convenient to use for gaming activity.
You can directly call to the facility to talk about the detailed options and fees when you want to hold events. They said there's a 3 type of plan to fully booking that "whole floor", "the stage", "section for eating and drinking".
I guess it is good to use free reserve to hold small party or practice in group for general user.
Especially the seats where 10 computers facing each 5 computer are the best place to playing with chatting.
Personally I'd like to hold "Hearth Stone"'s small offline event there
I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Inoue and Staff members of "e-Sports SQUARE AKIHABARA" who explained its fee structures and all in detail.
Original article(Japanese):[レポート] 2/2『e-sports SQUARE』レポート―国内初のE-sports専用施設がついに秋葉原に進出