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How Los Angeles Has Become the Gaming Capital of the United States

With Silicon Valley in San Francisco to the north, Comic-Con in San Diego to the South, California already has strong ties to technology and pop-culture. Nestled in between these cities is Los Angeles, which has embraced both technological innovations and pop-culture trends, building a fortified love of gaming.

From casual play to widespread gaming infrastructure, the still relatively young entertainment medium has spread like wildfire across LA, with the cultural embrace and establishment of major companies cementing the city as the gaming capital of the United States. Of course, this is a hefty claim to make, but once you’ve seen the spread of gaming throughout LA, it becomes evident that nowhere propels the platform quite like the City of Angels.

Beloved By Creatives

Los Angeles is, of course, a hugely appealing city for all kinds of major events, but game companies have notably utilized the celebrity connections of the area to amp-up their showcases. This was epitomized by the Maryland-based Bethesda Softworks coming all the way to downtown LA just to host an epic launch party for the highly-anticipated Fallout 4 game. Many celebrities showed up to celebrate the game’s release, including Halle Berry, Kaley Cuoco, Randy Jackson, and Calvin Harris put on a live set.

Overall, video gaming is quite well spread, with companies setting up all over the world, and there’s not particularly a perceived need for them all to congregate in one city. That said, many top-class studios have rocked up to LA to make the city their home. Recently, Google Stadia realized the need to create original titles for its struggling game streaming platform, seeing Playa Vista as the perfect place to set-up shop.

Most notably, though, the powerhouse behind the highly-praised God of War franchise, Sony Santa Monica, has been in Playa Vista since 1999. Over in Studio City, the developer whose game is perhaps the most pivotal pillar of the eSports industry, Riot Games, created League of Legends and is now expanding the competitive scene with the first-person shooter Valorant. Then, of course, there’s Naughty Dog: the Santa Monica-based studio behind titanic games like Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, and The Last of Us.

Angelinos Becoming Gamers

Across the country, there are millions of gamers. Many play via their smartphones or tablets online, others buy into one or more of the three headline consoles, and then some go all-in on a state-of-the-art gaming computer. The entertainment medium has become mainstream and incredibly accessible, especially to the people of Los Angeles, where gaming has become entrenched in the culture of casual entertainment.

The events and presence of gaming giants in LA have certainly spurred on game adoption over the last couple of decades, with consoles becoming widespread. However, the much more accessible platforms of gaming have also proven to be prominent features in the lives of Angelinos. Just about anyone with a smartphone – which is just about everyone, has a free-to-download app game, like Candy Crush, Fortnite, or Clash of Clans. Many more have explored the other online-based games in platforms like where there are over 10,000 different slots games to play. Games like Starburst, Book of Dead, and Golden Goddess are ever-present atop the free favorite games lists among LA players.

While major game companies being in the city alongside colossal local events – which we’ll get into shortly, spur intrigue, it’s the ever-present playability of games that has made LA such a hub for the platform. Across the city, you can connect to the internet with ease to enjoy the most popular games. You can also find several venues that have leaped at the opportunity to expand their bar offering with classic, retro, and video games. Gaming bars are everywhere, with the likes of Barcade, Blipsy Bar, Button Mash, GameHäus Café, and The One Up creating a scene where nightlife meets gaming in a social setting.

Home to the Competitive Scene

LA has hosted the prime event of the gaming calendar on all but two occasions since it began, with the Los Angeles Convention Center being the home of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The gigantic convention brings in many of the major players of the industry, evolving from an industry expo to an annual event that game fans all over the world visit and follow online. Each year, E3 showcases the latest trends and innovations of the industry, putting LA at the forefront of the evolving space.

One such trend, which has exploded into becoming a major part of gaming entertainment, is that of eSports. As gamers already hail LA as the home of gaming in the United States, it’s only fitting that the city has gone all-in to support eSports’ rise to prominence. The Los Angeles Times reports that Nerd Street Gamers are building the largest public eSports arena on the West Coast, which will not only stage major professional events but also be readily available for any citizens who want to utilize pro-grade equipment to play games. It further establishes LA as a leader in the field of gaming, while also making the entertainment even more accessible to Angelinos.

The City of Angels is famous for many reasons, but now it has become the gaming capital of the United States. From the industry’s presence to the love of gaming across the city, LA is mad about games.


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