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How Abu Dhabi plans to make its mark on $4.5bn gaming sector

Waterfront destination Al Qana reveals plan to open eSports hub and VR gaming complex

Al Qana, Abu Dhabi’s waterfront destination, on Tuesday revealed its plan to open the largest eSports hub and VR Gaming Complex in 2021.

Pixel is set to be the latest evolution of location-based entertainment (LBE) and will cater to families, gamers and technology enthusiasts. The announcement comes as gaming industry revenues are estimated to be larger than those of worldwide box offices, music streaming and album sales and major sports leagues combined.

According to regional industry reports, gaming in the MENA region is estimated to be a $4.5 billion business with the number of Middle East gamers believed to be more than 100 million and close to 2.5 billion worldwide.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by Fouad Mashal, CEO of Al Barakah International Investment and developer of Al Qana, and Karim Ibrahim, CEO of Robocom VR.

Under the deal, Robocom VR will be the sole provider of the content and technology for the Pixel Gaming Hub while Al Barakah International Investment is the key developer of the project.

The companies said the concept of Pixel will introduce a "world-class eSports hub combined with virtual reality in one single gaming complex".

Pixel will also include the first certified eSports academy in the region with the mission of highlighting the importance of playing responsibly. The hub will also feature an events space to host tournaments as well as an arcade area that will be run by gamers for gamers.

Mashal said: “In line with our vision to bring world-class experience to Al Qana, our partnership with Robocom VR will position Pixel as one of the most sought-after VR and eSports destinations in the UAE.”

Ibrahim added: “There’s a constant demand for new and diverse location-based entertainment centres that fit the global standards across the Middle East. With Pixel, gamers will have a chance to fully immerse themselves into new dimensions of gaming.”

Al Qana has assigned 50 percent of the leasable area to entertainment. The project is on track for construction completion in 2021 with over 90 percent currently complete.

When complete, it will offer waterside eateries, the largest standalone cinema in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East’s largest aquarium, a first-of-its-kind lifestyle hub including wellness facilities, kids’ zone and community spaces.


Read more about the GCC gaming opportunity



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