Event culminated with the nation’s first e-sports competition between members of all armed service branches.
SAN ANTONIO — Port San Antonio, in partnership with renowned venue management firm ASM Global, hosted the inaugural FORCECON 22 at the new state-of-the-art Tech Port Center + Arena from May 24 to 29.
The weeklong event — a first-of-its-kind convention — promoted synergies between the Department of Defense, private tech firms and academia in advancing innovation and research.
The arena space configuration for FORCECON 22's 'collider' event — two-day, invitation-only industry showcase and networking opportunity initiated by the U.S. Air Force. Photo credit: ASM Global/Port San Antonio.
This year's inaugural FORCECON served as the launch event for several more similar activities to come, including future FORCECON endeavors, that uniquely connect all these constituents as part of a shared effort to develop tomorrow's technologies for military applications. It was a collaboration between the Port, ASM Global, startup accelerator Capital Factory, the University of Texas at San Antonio's Center for Government Contracting (CGC), the Air Force's Air Education and Training Command (AETC), the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), Air Force Gaming, Space Force Gaming, the Air Force's internal innovation accelerator AFWERX and esports firm Rally Cry.
The shared effort will make it easier for the defense community to learn about and adopt leading edge technology.
ASM Global, which oversees operations of Tech Port Center + Arena, ensured maximum use of the building's many spaces and integrated technology during the event — which included a large convention floor that was transformed into a 3,200-seat arena, classrooms and meeting rooms, a prototyping lab, a LAN gaming center and an industry showroom.
Of particular interest to the defense community are the integration of cybersecurity, virtual / augmented reality (VR / AR), robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to advance 21st-century needs. These technologies were on display during an invitation-only 'collider' event on May 24 and 25, which was developed by the U.S. Air Force to build a community that is inclusive of innovators, educators, researchers and members of the public who are ensuring that the nation's servicemembers maintain a leading edge in fast-evolving technologies.
Tech booth area during FORCECON 22 collider event. The event was the launch of several more similar activities to come that will connect tech firms, academia and the Department of Defense to showcase the latest technologies that will help further safeguard the nation. Photo credit: ASM Global.
The second component of FORCECON 22 consisted of an esports training and cross-branch championship for Halo: Infinite that was open to the public. Teams represented during the competition included Air Force Gaming, Space Force Gaming, Army Esports, Marine Corps Gaming, Navy Esports and Coast Guard Esports.
As championship play among the armed forces' teams took place, FORCECON 22 also hosted an open bracket tournament for Halo: Infinite. Gamers from across the region were invited to compete in Tech Port Center + Arena's LAN gaming center for a chance to win part of the $10,000 prize pool, with finalists having the privilege of playing on the main stage on May 29.
In the end, Air Force Gaming emerged as the victor of the cross-branch tournament.
The members of the Air Force Gaming esports team, who won the cross-branch Halo: Infinite championship during FORCECON 22. Photo credit: Port San Antonio.
Located just down the hallway from the arena, Tech Port Gaming LAN Center's 60 stations allowed players to take part in an open bracket Halo: Infinite competition (above), with an opportunity for winners to play the Air Force Gaming team in a friendly match on the main stage (below). Photo credit: ASM Global/Port San Antonio.
"The event was a great way to bring defense leadership and young servicemembers together to share ideas, collaborate on the role of gaming in force development and showcase the best teams across our armed forces," said Will Garrett, Port San Antonio's Vice President of Talent and Technology Development and Integration.
"FORCECON 22 put a strong underscore on Tech Port Center + Arena's very special capabilities and value to many different kinds of users — including the government and private sectors, educators, esports enthusiasts and members of the general public — who came together with shared enthusiasm in collaborating, developing and embracing new technologies that support our national defense priorities," he added.
Department of the Air Force Gaming League achieved two major firsts over Memorial Day weekend — the first Department of Defense Armed Forces Sports Championship and the inaugural Air Force Gaming Minor League Championships. The gaming league took center stage at the inaugural FORCECON 22 event at the new Tech Port Center + Arena on May 28 and 29. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force / Armando Perez.
The different components of Tech Port Center + Arena allowed FORCECON 22 participants to make wide use of the state-of-the-art building. Among the facility features overseen by ASM Global was an arena space that was converted from a conference staging to a live performance/esports competition space that hosted over 3,000 seated guests.