Complexity Gaming may not compete at AT&T Stadium, but the new GameStop Performance Center at The Star in Frisco means they will, at least, train like the Dallas Cowboys. Acquired by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in 2017, Complexity is one of the oldest organized esports leagues in the U.S. and boasts teams in popular games like Dota 2, Counter Strike: GO, League of Legends and Fortnite.
“We always dreamed about one day having a place where people worked, where they lived and where they played. It’s obviously coming to fruition," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says.
The new 11,000-square-foot facility sits just across the street from the Ford Center, keeping things close to home for Dallas' biggest sports franchise. And like the Ford Center, the GameStop Performance Center will offer benefits for both players and fans. Resources for managing the athletes' nutritional, physical and mental well-being are only part of what's found within.
Representatives from Complexity, the Dallas Cowboys and GameStop touted what the building means for a continued investment in professional esports.
"People ask, 'Why esports?’ That’s our future," Stephen Jones says. "One of our jobs in the Dallas Cowboys is to keep up with this stuff, and esports are showing that you don’t have to be 6-4, 240 (pounds) and run a 4.40 (40-yard dash) to be an athlete.”
Traditional athlete or not, Complexity's professional players, partners and streamers will have access to some serious tech and amenities once operations finish moving to Frisco. The performance center boasts training classrooms for reviewing plays and building strategies, a lounge for watching matches, and a "decompression porch" for cooling off, complete with a near-future-looking nap pod.
There are also mirrored practice rooms where simulated noise will mimic live-performance environments, streaming studios where much of Complexity's online content will be produced and the Silicon Valley-sounding Mind Gym.
The last one was a favorite of Complexity CRO Daniel Herz, who led a tour of the facility. It's equipped with some proprietary training software that can develop reactions, critical thinking and other cognitive skills while also helping players manage stress and fatigue.
Results and data will be used to improve how Complexity helps their players deal with burnout and other mental health issues distressingly common among esports athletes. Herz even mentioned developing white papers using the results.
"The life of a pro gamer is demanding: They’re traveling, they’re playing many hours," he says. "So how do we help with that? How do we improve their cognitive abilities without making them work for six hours at a time?
"A big thing for us is changing stereotypes, creating healthy gaming habits, showing how it can be improved at a cognitive level, and then trickle that down to the community.”
The community he mentions includes Dallas-area high schools, colleges and the esports league that will all have the opportunity to access the performance center as well. As for the public, fans have access to the front half of the facility, including the bar and lounge where watch parties and other events will be hosted. Want to catch a glimpse of your favorite contender in-training? Walkways lined with windows provide near-direct access to the Dallas esports athletes' daily regimen. The hope is that such a connection will help foster a sense of community among local fans.
“We didn’t want to build an arena," Herz says. "We wanted to build something that’s really going to give back to the community and provide that benefit.”
Though the doors officially opened Monday, Complexity won't start hosting clinics or workshops until the summer. Publicly available watch parties and other events will be announced soon. Herz said the entire organization is excited for the future within the performance center's walls.
"We are going to do everything we can to lift more trophies but with a cause and a story behind it," he says. "We’re creating an ecosystem here that will hopefully last not for two years, but for 20."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.