Since Sept. 27, University of Iowa students have been able to play video games inside the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) in the school’s first esports lounge, the HawkeyEsports Arcade.
The 2,700-square-foot space is located on the ground floor of the IMU between Union Station Food Court and The Hawkeye lounge area and features the latest high-end gaming systems, including 24 gaming computers, three console stations that include an Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch, all to be played on 65-inch OLED TVs and three stand-up arcade systems.
“The establishment of an esports lounge represents an emerging trend in higher education and will provide another engagement opportunity for students,” says Jamarco Clark, assistant dean and director of leadership and engagement.
The lounge is free to all students and is open for play every day of the week, with intramural tournaments and other scheduled events occurring intermittently. Hours for the lounge are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Students have access to a variety of free and a limited number of paid games. To access additional paid games, a user must already have the license and provide credentials when prompted.
Students are limited to three hours of gameplay per calendar day at the PC stations and up to two 90 minutes at the console stations.
“Iowa has multiple gaming clubs and intramural opportunities on campus, which have been active for years,” says Clark. “The space will be available for open gaming and will also be reservable for the club teams to practice and host tournaments.”
While organizations and clubs can reserve space, the lounge will mainly operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Students can bring their own peripherals for the PC stations and can check out console equipment by using their Iowa One ID card.