Japan has opened its first-ever gym dedicated to esports in Tokyo, catering to both amateur and professional gamers. The Esports Gym, a collaboration between private transit company Tokyo Metro and esports education company Gecipe, was launched on May 19, 2021.
Gaming PCs equipped with some of Japan's most popular games, including Valorant and League of Legends, and a lounge were among the offerings. Gamers had the option to book a three-hour time slot for about $13 or a monthly membership starting at $50 that provided daily access to gaming PCs as well as the option of coaching sessions for an additional $25 an hour.
Coaching services were provided by two well-known gaming companies, Crest Gaming and Glory Be Esports, who offered both online and in-person professional coaching for games such as Valorant, League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege, and Identity V.
Esports Industry Boom in Asia
The launch of Esports Gym in Tokyo is a testament to the growing esports industry in Asia. The region made up 57% of the global esports viewership in 2019, according to insider.com. Global esports revenue was projected to exceed $1 billion in 2021, and the global games' live-streaming audience was predicted to reach 728.8 million, reflecting the massive growth of the industry.
Similar facilities have opened in other parts of Asia, including The Gym in Singapore and T1's 10-story facility in Seoul's Gangnam district. In Singapore, audio-visual and events company NEO.TM opened Asia's first 24-hour coworking space dedicated to esports in February 2021. The 7,700-square-foot space, known simply as The Gym, features gaming areas, live streaming capabilities, and event spaces.
In South Korea, professional esports team T1 built a space designed to develop healthy habits for young players. The 10-story facility in Seoul's Gangnam district offered about 70 professional gamers access to a Nike-sponsored gym, on-site nutritionists, and English language classes.
Esports Gyms Paving the Way for Esports Professionalism
Esports gyms like Esports Gym in Tokyo provide an opportunity for individuals and teams to practice and compete in a professional setting. They also offer a chance to develop healthy habits that are essential for pursuing a successful career in esports. NEO.TM's founder, Neo Yong Aik, said that “there is little doubt that esports has become mainstream in this part of the world,” but also noted that the sport lacked a professional approach.
Esports gyms provide a space for individuals and teams to develop the right habits that will stay with them throughout their esports career. At T1's facility in South Korea, for example, players had access to healthy meals, English language classes, and a gym. Such initiatives reflect the growth of esports as a competitive sport and the demand for professionalism in the industry.
The opening of Japan's first-ever esports gym, Esports Gym, marks a significant milestone in the growth of the esports industry in Asia. It provides a space for individuals and teams to train and develop healthy habits while pursuing a career in esports. The launch of Esports Gym, together with similar facilities in other parts of Asia, reflects the growing demand for esports professionalism and the sport's mainstream appeal.