Pro FIFA player Hashtag Ryan on how Red Bull’s Gaming Sphere is hoping to grow UK esports


Hashtag Ryan at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere (Picture: Red Bull)

The Red Bull Gaming Sphere, touted as the largest public esports studio in the UK, is set to launch Friday (March 23) boasting state of the art technology and an area for gaming communities to come together.

The space in Shoreditch, London encompasses numerous set-ups designed for driving simulators, casual play and competitive gaming, with plans to host workshops, training sessions and public tournaments.

It’s the second studio Red Bull have opened following the launch of the Tokyo Gaming Sphere in Japan last month, and hopes to tap into potential esports stars of the future on this side of the world.

Speaking to Metro GameCentral, Hashtag United UK FIFA pro Ryan Pessoa explained how the space could be a ‘huge step forward’ for UK esports.

Ryan said: ‘It’s a base not only for competitive gamers, but also casual gamers who [can] come along to play against others to practise for tournaments coming up, or to play casually against other people. It’s a good opportunity for the UK esports scene to grow.

‘Having it in London it’s also next to other competitive gaming bunkers; Fnatic is just around the corner and the Hashtag team are represented just down the road. If you wanted to come here just to practise, it’s a good opportunity to do so.’

There’s spaces for driving sims with best times recorded on a wall chart (Picture: Red Bull)

While Ryan believes the FIFA scene particularly is ‘not really as big as it could be’ in the UK, he believes that’s down to the country not having an official FIFA e-League like our European neighbours France and Germany.

‘It’s starting to grow,’ Ryan says. ‘I think it’s because… it’s not really a lack of information, but EA didn’t really push esports as much as they possibly could have.

‘They still host a massive tournament which is amazing, but I believe providing more information to casual gamers through the games themselves could help promote esports. We’ll still be behind until we get an e-League of our own.’

The FIFA scene is on the rise, according to Hashtag Ryan (Picture: Red Bull)

FIFA is also unique on the esports circuit by having new games released annually, which often throw in new mechanics or adjust old ones to change the game’s momentum.

This gamble with tried and true systems isn’t an issue which terrifies Ryan, who welcomes the challenge of learning new mechanics in the yearly editions.

‘I like that aspect of learning something new,’ Ryan says. ‘I believe it adds to the fun element, for me anyway, I like to do stuff like that.

‘Maybe it can be frustrating for other people. They may just think their hard work is just gone because they have to learn new game mechanics, but for me I enjoy that.’

The Red Bull Gaming Sphere is set to launch Friday March 23 with a Friday Night Brawl event, which sees players compete in a knockout tournament for a £100 cash prize.

Thursdays are set to be dominated by Practise Quarters which starts in April, an invitational community event for players to get together, train and share ideas – with the first focusing on Street Fighter V.

A week-long extensive workshop is also planned which will offer a world class Dota 2 coaching session with pro player Purge – something to help brush up skills before the Birmingham Major.

You can catch the first Friday Night Brawl at Red Bull Gaming Sphere on Friday from 5pm – 10pm. To sign up for events check out their official website.

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