IRVING — Dallas-Fort Worth has made a name for itself in the video game world with Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban investing in professional Esports teams, the City of Arlington building an Esports arena, and UT-Arlington’s Esports team competing at the national level. Now DFW Airport has gotten in on that action, becoming the first airport in the world to offer video game lounges to help passengers kill time.
“I was shocked that it hadn’t already been done before,” says Jordan Walbridge, who co-founded Airport Gameway with his wife. “Everyone who I talk to, they’re like, ‘Why hasn’t this been done before?’ I’m just glad that I’m the first!”
Walbridge says his wife came up with the initial idea and he started pitching it to airports last summer. DFW was the only one that wanted to do it immediately, and less than a year later Airport Gameway had its grand opening this week at gates B42 and E18. For 42 cents per minute or $20 for unlimited time you can choose from 19 Xbox games and play on a 4K TV with noise-canceling head phones. Walbridge hopes future expansion will include other gaming systems, but he had a personal reason for starting with Xbox.
“I was in the military for eight years. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, and when we’d go on these really difficult, really hard missions, we’d come back and we’d have four Xboxes where 16 people could play Halo [to de-stress]. So it had a special place in my heart.”
Even though the lounges just opened, they’re already a hit with flyers.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” says Chris Westfall. “Every time I come in now I won’t even be worried if my flight is a two- or three-hour layover ’cause I’ll be able to come and just play Xbox.”
The lounges are open daily from 4:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. Just make sure to keep track of the time, because rescheduling a missed flight is a game no one wants to play!