Inside Melbourne’s new Fortress for gamers

Last week, hundreds of Melbourne’s most avid gamers descended upon Emporium Melbourne to celebrate the launch of Fortress, the southern hemisphere’s largest esports and gaming entertainment venue.

“Fortress is a powerful addition to the thriving retail, dining and cultural precinct of Emporium Melbourne and is a new destination to socialise with friends, catch up with colleagues or a place for tourists to visit while in Melbourne,” chief development officer Carolyn Viney told Inside Retail.

“We know the Fortress launch has been a highly anticipated opening, especially as digital gaming has become the world’s largest entertainment market – worth more than the movie and music industries combined. In Australia, the gaming industry generates worth more than $2.2 billion every year.”

Video games critic and TV presenter Stephanie Hex Bendixsen and Fortress Esports CEO Jon Satterley both attended the launch of the first-of-its-kind venue. According to a statement from Vicinity, Melbourne is fast becoming the Australian capital of esports and digital gaming, also hosting major gaming events such as the Melbourne Esports Open and PAX Australia.

Fortress is a 2700sqm space that stretches across two levels and includes a 200-seat purpose-built esports arena, more than 160 Alienware PCs, VIP game booths, streamer pods as well as a restaurant, function spaces and two bars.

Like other retailers around the world, Emporium Melbourne is focusing on offering consumers exciting new dining options and shopping experiences. A new, larger Calia restaurant is opening in May on Lonsdale Street, and later, a first-to-market showroom for luxury car brand Fortress and a new look Nespresso store.

Despite COVID-19, Emporium Melbourne is remaining open to the community as per usual, although Viney said it is continuing to act upon advice from the federal and state health departments.

“We know our centres play an important role in providing access to essential products and services for our community which is why we are continuing to trade as normal. We will continue to monitor the advice of our state and federal governments following last week’s recommendation against organised non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more,” she said.

“Pandemic considerations are integrated into Vicinity’s business continuity plans and crisis frameworks. We have a dedicated team working on our preparedness across our portfolio and we will continue to monitor the situation as it continues to evolve based on government recommendations.”


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