Usually when you watch the live stream or you go to an MLG event, you are used to seeing a venue filled with booths scattered along the walls with play stations lined up in the middle of the room. Main stage had this arena feel to it where the commentators were on high rises behind the bleachers of fans and spectators. Well, this ain’t your daddy’s MLG venue anymore. This year’s venue is held at the Dallas Convention Center instead of the Hilton Anatole like it has been for the past two years, and it’s a nice change with convenient parking, a beautiful courtyard that’s just outside the exhibition hall, and a lot more space.
Everything in the venue no longer feels cluttered and you can actually walk around to the different events without having to squeeze through numerous groups of people. All of the booths are located in the front of the venue where you enter and the three main events take up the middle and back sections. All three games have their own section of the venue: Call of Duty (PS3) and StarCraft (PC) on either side and Halo (Xbox 360) down the middle. Each of the the events has their own play areas and main stages. As you’ll see in the accompanying video, there is no longer one big main stage and there are no longer bleachers for crowds to sit on. There are now rows of chairs on the venue floor where spectators can sit with the first three rows reserved for media, VIP, players, family, etc. Many people I have talked to like the change of having more space in the venue and that the layout is a lot better, but not having the high rises and bleachers just doesn’t make it feel like MLG. The commentators are located behind the curtains where no one can see them, which may make it look better on the stream, but the atmosphere on stage is definitely different.
Many of the familiar booths are at the event, including Astros, Sony, Dr. Pepper, etc. but with new sponsors comes new booths. Three new booths at this event include Sony Ericson, Warheads, and Alienware: supplier of the computers used for StarCraft. The venue is nicely prepared and done this year and it looks like MLG is stepping up their game for their events.
Finally, here’s a challenge: the StarCraft fans on Friday completely outnumbered those of Halo and CoD combined. When an event is near you, I encourage to go out and have a watch and support your game.