Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions between professional players, but at The Esports Cave, the world of Esports culminates in one spot and becomes accessible to anyone who picks up a controller.
With over 48 high-speed gaming PCs, tons of Nintendo Switches and Playstation 4s, the options for play are endless whether you are playing for an hour, the entire day, in a tournament, or during one of its lock-in events from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
The Esports Cave has two state-of-the-art facilities in the Austin area, the original located in North Austin and a second site in Cedar Park inside Crossover. At both venues, its diverse inventory of 153 games is always up-to-date. Players sit at their own PC station equipped with a gaming chair and headset, and can order snacks for staff to deliver to their seat.
The Esports Cave is the brain-child of gamer Connor Stilwell, who curated the games, cutting-edge equipment and high-tech atmosphere with his vast knowledge of the Esports industry. He owns and operates the business with his parents, Jeff and Sue Stilwell.
“Ever since [Connor] was a little boy, we’ve been thinking about some sort of business that we could do ... One of the key focuses that we have is the ease of the experience in the center,” Jeff said. “When we chose this business, we saw a real opportunity where we could bring something of value to the gamers and to their families.”
The value and impact of The Esports Cave is the thriving social community it has created out of an activity that is otherwise limited to either playing alone in your bedroom or competing in the big leagues. Connor said watching players who did not know each other previously become friends and connect through gaming at The eSports Cave is rewarding.
“It’s really cool when you watch [tournaments at The Esports Cave] and a guy goes up to another guy and goes like, ‘Hey, can I get some advice here?’ ... It’s really cool to say, ‘Here's this environment where you can take on a mentorship role,’” Connor said.
There are also training sessions where kids can learn how to play their favorite game better from a coach, but Connor said patrons end up learning much more than new video game skills. He receives feedback from parents who claim their children’s lives are being positively impacted by the social skills they are picking up through gaming in this environment.
“Part of what I’m trying to do here is cultivate not only those experiences, but in other ways build into people and invest in people. This is not just a boring way to pass the time and get entertained,” Connor said. “This is a way to cultivate skills that you’re going to need to work on any project in general.”
The Esports Cave has already grown since its inception in 2019, and in the future, Connor hopes to expand it to include popular virtual reality gaming, streaming events, and even larger tournaments.
You can visit The Esports Cave’s North Austin location at 10700 Anderson Mill Road, Ste. 207, Austin, and its Cedar Park location at 1717 Scottsdale Drive, Ste. 100B, Cedar Park.
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