The original Game Arena is located in Hilliard, Ohio. The Gateway location is set to open summer 2020. Credit: Steve Alostaz | Lantern reporter

Gateway will level up this summer with the addition of a new gaming arena.

Game Arena, an esports facility and gaming center, is opening a second location in the university district. The arena is expected to open in May or June 2020, Keven Barrera, event operations manager for Game Arena, said.

Game Arena opened its first location February 2018 in Hilliard, Ohio, stocked with more than 60 gaming computers, more than 20 consoles, high-quality gaming chairs and food and drinks, according to Game Arena’s website.

“For the second location, we are tuning it to a different demographic: young adults,” Barrera said. “You’re going to walk in there and be like, ‘Oh, yes, this is where I want to be.’”

With neon lights hung from the ceiling, an upper level lounge area, large screens with esports livestreams and a fully equipped bar and kitchen, Barrera said the layout of the new arena will be distinct from the original.

“I’m really excited for this because I believe it’s going to make the Ohio State students really happy and for them to have a place to call home where people can hang out without judgment of being gamers,” Berrera said.

In addition to casual gameplay, Barrera said Game Arena hosts weekly tournaments that offer cash prizes and trophies.

“We host the largest Super Smash Bros. tournament every Thursday in the state of Ohio and possibly the Midwest as well,” Barrera said. “We range anywhere from 90-plus to 120 attendees every Thursday.”

Barrera said customers pay for their play time at consoles or computers in increments of one, three or six hours. He said hours not completed are rolled over into a person’s account and can be used the next time they come in.

Jason Hillebrand, a frequent customer of Game Arena, said he thinks such places are important because it offers a spot for people to meet and creates a sense of community and belonging.

“I’ve had a great experience here playing different games and tournaments. It’s a very family-friendly, family-oriented company,” Hillebrand said. “For the cost of what you get for the setup and equipment here, it’s pretty amazing.”

Game Arena is expected to open its second location in May or June 2020 at 1556 N. High St.