Getting to the airport early is one of those things everyone knows they should do, but nobody really wants to do. Except maybe at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, home of the world’s first airport gaming lounge! Suddenly, a DFW layover doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Last Updated July 2023
Introducing Gameway, the Airport Gaming Lounge
A company called Gameway has brought video games to the edge of the runway, opening the world’s first video game lounge at DFW. There are two, in fact, in Terminals B and E, to keep fliers occupied between flights or during weather delays, which DFW has plenty of.
Gameway President Jordan Walbridge says their aim is to make airports entertaining, and their goal is worldwide. He says DFW was aggressive in wanting to be the first airport with a gaming lounge, and it’s a perfect fit, from a business standpoint. The average gamers are 35-year-old men, and 40-year-old women which, according to Walbridge, perfectly aligns with who’s traveling through the airports.
Since opening, Gameway has racked up the wins. Sure, they claim more than a million bosses defeated, but they can also claim to be an award winning business concept. Among the accolades are the DFW Business Performance Small Operator Award, the Best Innovative Customer Experience Award by ACI-NA, and Best Amenity in North America at the 2023 Airport Experience Traveler Awards. (Ironically, held at the Denver International Airport, where Gameway has no presence. Yet!)
This is No Video Arcade!
If you’re expecting something akin to the tradition arcade game room, you will be delightfully – or maybe sadly – disappointed. This is where gaming enthusiasts’ dreams come true. The lounges feature gaming stations – 36 in all – with big leather seats, 43-inch TVs, noise-cancelling headphones, charging ports, and luggage racks. They sit side-by-side, rather than in a pod, so you’ll be able watch others play, or engage in some pre-flight trash talk.
Game stations feature “current gen” gaming, with hit X-Box, PlayStation, and PC titles. You also have the option to log in and play your own games. Players can choose to pay and play in three increments: up to 30-minutes for $15.99, up to an hour for $25.99, or unlimited for $45.99. Just in case your flight is delayed more than two hours, or you just got to the airport super early. Because, you know, Gameway.
Premium headphones are available, as are snacks and beverages, high-speed internet, and charging ports. In short, all the essentials for whiling away that flight delay.
DFW is staking its claim as the world capital of eSports.
The side benefit is that you get to play Fortnite between flights!
The eSports eXplosion
Opening the first airport gaming lounge in DFW makes perfect sense. The eSports industry was born in Dallas, though a recent survey by ESPN ranked DFW second behind Los Angeles as the eSports capital. Many of the industry’s leading companies and competing teams are based in DFW, and it has exploded in recent years.
That growth has been fueled lately by Dallas sports magnates Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones. Aside from their well-known teams, Cuban owns Mavs Gaming, which competes in the NBA 2K eLeague, and Jones is the majority owner of Complexity Gaming, and their home arena, the Lenovo Legion Esports Center in Frisco. (Just down the street from the HQ and practice facility for that other team Jones owns.)
Not far from the airport, Arlington, Texas, is betting big on eSports as well. The city committed $10-million to remodel and rebrand their convention center as the Esports Stadium Arlington. The venue is in the middle of Arlington’s growing sports and entertainment district, which includes AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, home of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers.
Gameway Expansions: More Lounges, More Airports
Since Gameway DFW first opened in 2018, a small but growing number of domestic airports have welcomed this fun public lounge. You’ll now find Gameway in terminals across the country:
- LAX in terminals 3 and 6
- HOU near Gate 1
- CLT near Gate 36
What’s your favorite way to spend time at the airport? Would you pay to play during a flight delay, or is this just the latest airport fad? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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Photos courtesy of Airport Gameway.