The CenturyLink Event Center is turning into a 285,000 square-foot geeky paradise this weekend.
The first-ever GE2 event is taking place Saturday and Sunday in Seattle, where attendees can participate in drone racing, virtual reality, eSports, laser tag, robotics, dodgeball, and more.
Virtual Sports, which runs a 30,000 square-foot entertainment center in Tukwila, Wash., is partnering with radio broadcasting giant Entercom to put on the inaugural event. There will be official drone races — the largest ever to take place in the Pacific Northwest — and laser tag competitions, but attendees will also have a chance to try out a variety of new technologies.
— GE² Live (@GE2_live) December 16, 2016
Virtual Sports CEO Brian Deller described the GE2 as a “carnival focused on technology.” He said there isn’t another event that incorporates new gaming competitions like drone racing and eSports with a participatory element for attendees who may not be as familiar with the new technology. It’s also more accessible than other events, Deller said, with tickets starting at $30.
Partners like HTC, Microsoft, DJI, and others are helping make the event possible and will provide some of their products for demos.
“It’s being used as an opportunity for companies to show off their technology, as well as giving consumers an opportunity to play with things,” Deller said.
Deller founded Virtual Sports last year with Jon Raduenz and now employs 50 people at the “experiential entertainment center,” which hosts high-tech laser tag battles, eSports competitions, and more. The new GE2 event, which also includes panel discussions that focus on new technology, lets the company reach more people and offers some more flexibility. Deller hopes to bring the event across the U.S.
“We get to expose the same amount of people to this technology in a weekend than we would otherwise do over the course of a month,” Deller said.
Deller got his start in the entertainment business seven years ago running trampoline parks. He then noticed how tactical laser tag was “making a comeback,” particularly with new technology that enhanced the in-person gameplay. The GE2 event builds off of what Virtual Sports has created at its facility in Tukwila.
“Experiential entertainment is the future,” Deller said. “We have constant stimulation now and everything we do is interactive to some degree, whether it’s our phone, computer, or gaming. People want to take that experience outside their house.”