During the open days on March 11-12, KronBars Arena welcomed over 200 people who had the chance to compete in FIFA, CS:GO, and Dota 2, as well as various contests, listen to keynotes by top-tier sports managers, and see the event’s special guest Dmitry 'Finargot' Plyusnin, a viral gamer and blogger.
ITMO began to pursue esports in 2015. Back then, its sports club KronBars launched an esports section for students. Then, ITMO became the first university in Russia to offer a scholarship for cyberathletes who perform well in academics and such sports disciplines as CS:GО, Dota 2, Hearthstone, FIFA, Overwatch, League of Legends, and others. With an ever-increasing number of cybersports-loving students and sports disciplines pursued, the university decided to open a student esports gaming venue, named KronBars Arena, at its campus at Pesochnaya Emb. 14 bldg. A.
“A few years back, we had an idea to launch a lounge for students where they could not only play video games but also train for esports events and communicate. The new location was opened near our student dorms. We hope that KronBars Arena will become popular with students and help us build an open esports community at the university. The space is well-equipped with all the necessities: a coworking area, training rooms with high-powered PSc and stable Wi-Fi, as well as a recording and streaming studio,” shares Evgenii Raskin, ITMO's Vice Rector for Youth Policy.
The space features three zones:
- With four rooms for teams, one for two-member teams, and six spots for solo training, the gaming area can house up to 31 people. All the facilities feature pro gaming PCs powered by AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processors and graphic cards from industry leaders AMD and NVIDIA;
- The coworking space with four PS5 consoles for trying out the latest releases, such as Hogwarts Legacy, studying the opponent’s tactics, and holding teambuilding sessions;
- The recording studio has all the must-haves for streaming and podcasting: two microphones Shure SM7B and two cameras Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. In a room next door, users can edit their videos and even create their own games taking advantage of the preinstalled software, such as DaVinci and Adobe Premiere Pro for editing, Unreal Engine and Unity for gamedev, and Blender and 3ds Max for 3D modeling.
However, KronBars Arena will be not only about training the university's future e-athletes.
“We’re open and willing to welcome students from other universities. For this part, at the upcoming national esports forum in July 2023, we’re going to offer the Russian Esports Federation to hold the next season of the Russian Esports Student League at ITMO University,” adds Evgenii Raskin. “What’s more, we’ve going to launch a continuing professional education program for wanna-be cyberathletes, streamers, commentators, coaches, and esports team managers.”
KronBars Arena is free to access and open to school students, as well as students and staff from ITMO and other universities in St. Petersburg. To access the gaming venue, you need to contact KronBars via VK saying when you’re planning to come and what room(s) you want to book. KronBars Arena is open daily from 10 AM to 10 PM.