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“Racing is Virtual, But it is So Realistic That it Doesn’t Feel That Way”

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Romain Grosjean of the R8G eSports team, speaks about the potential of SimRacing and the need for strong partners such as Acer in eSports

How has eSports changed since you first became involved?
It has changed a lot! It all started between me and R8G in 2020 during the COVID lockdown. I was in the F1 Australia paddock when the news came about the first lockdown and the effect it was going to have on the whole world.

I had remembered someone telling me about a fun project, a Sim Racing team and it was actually something I had been considering for a few months. When I was younger I played video games which was fun, but it wasn’t really a passion. But after speaking with more people and doing some research, I realized that Sim Racing is much more than a video game. After further consideration, I figured that lockdown was the perfect opportunity to launch a Sim Racing team to see what we could do and we did it in one week!

Part of why I started a Sim Racing team is to share my experience and to help young people explore the world of motorsport. It’s so expensive to take part in motorsport nowadays and there are so many passionate young people who want to experience what it’s like. It’s an incredible opportunity for them because the sim racers are able to race on a grid with real F1 drivers like Button, Verstappen, Montoya, Leclerc, or myself. It’s mega!

There are no other e-sports like that where you can share real-time experiences with real-life champions. Not only do we have a chance to race together, but we can have a conversation and connect with others – the human side of R8G is amazing. I am interacting every day with the racers through Discord and spending quite a bit of my time there, it’s like another family for me. I try to open up and share details about my career, from races in IndyCar to F1, I even share pictures! We have a lot of fun together.

I’ve found since joining Sim Racing that the competition has evolved and it takes a lot more to win. The level at which racers are playing is improving every month. New teams arrive, and it raises the driving standards big time. Now, in most of the competitions, R8G is on the grid with F1 Teams (Williams, Aston Martin, Ferrari eSports, Mercedes, Alpine, Red Bull), big manufacturers (Porsche, BMW, Ford, and so on), and strong structures (Veloce, Unicorn Of Love, and so on F1 Champion Max Verstappen has now his own team too, and in many races, it’s now Grosjean Team vs Verstappen Team! I don’t think Sim Racing would even have dreamed about that before 2020!

Of course, the lockdown has been a big boost for e-sports. Media and partners became more interested in it, and we all believe there is more to come. Virtual will never replace real, but real and virtual can carry on simultaneously, it’s a great combination. It’s incredible to see that all the biggest motorsport series in the world run now their Virtual series too. On F2, one of the main Sim Racing platforms, there is Formula E, IndyCar, Le Mans, and so on. There is F1 eSports of course as well, and SRO, DTM, ADAC… Motorsport and SimRacing will work for hand in hand to create new Series and new opportunities. In the end, we are all in the same boat, sharing the same values. We just all love racing and cars!

How important are sponsors such as Acer to the future of eSports?
Crucial I have to say. SimRacing has a lot of potentials and we need strong partners like Acer to reach it. In the time of 2 years, thanks to the help of Acer and their strong involvement with my team, we have launched a Junior Team to support the growth of young talent. They’ve evolved from beginners to pros and are being paid for their participation. We even have a female driver-focused programe.

With Acer, we create a lot of content around PC screens, and all the gaming technology. We work closely on many different aspects on the tech side, such as the cooling, the headset, etc. They send us the best equipment to race, and I personally test all their products. We work a lot as well on the skin design and 3D conception. Since 2021, together we run a big competition, the Predator SIM Racing Cup, which is open to all. It’s on Assetto Corsa and every year there are between 3,000 and 5,000 drivers from 24 countries taking part within the EMEA region. It’s a big success but every year we try to make it bigger and more engaging.

I’m also proud to have entered the first electric Sim Racing Championship, WORLD eX, where we race for The Climate. We race under the ACER VERO colors, and the 2022 jackpot that comes from the winning races will go to help Acer Humanity. It’s a big initiative that makes us all proud. Acer is also very keen to engage with fans and the community. There are always a lot of raffles, giveaways, and entertaining video content and we’ve built a very strong community. SimRacing really helps to bring people together.

Of course, Acer also helps us to hire new drivers and develop talents. This type of competition requires investment, it’s like real-life racing, we need to find the best drivers and engineers. Acer has been a strong source of support since day one. We collaborate closely and brainstorm frequently to share ideas to make SIM racing even bigger. They’re more than a partner of R8G, they’re the biggest member.

When it comes to transferable skills that can be carried over from eSports to real-world racing, what do you look for in participants?
Today, we have sim racers able to show in real life how quick and talented they are. And it’s the same with real racers proving their pace in Virtual. It’s what we saw in Le Mans Virtual or VCO Pro Sim, where our line-ups were made of a mix of Pro Sim and Pro Drivers. Last year – and it will likely be the same this year – we had a couple of sim racers showing off their skills in real life.

They were part of an F4 Driving School in France, and they finished P3-P4-P6 from over 60 drivers. In our Junior Team, we have 2x F4 race winners: Barter and Vayron. In England, Gordon Mutch is racing with Praga in GT. Altogether, we work around data and set-ups, exactly as we do in real-life. We spend countless hours fine-tuning the set-up. So for me, Virtual and Real require the same quality of dedication, work, and seriousness, just talent is not enough. You have to be smart and willing to work. The hashtag #wearenotplaying is a testament to this; we are not just playing video games. We drive fast cars in a different way, but it requires putting more than 100 kg on the braking pedals as well.

We drive cars with the force-feedback wheel. SimRacing requires what everything does in real life when you want to succeed and be the best. It’s all about dedication and pushing yourself to the max. I am really impressed with 14-year-old kids putting hundreds of hours into testing and driving on the sim, in order to one day be the best. Indeed the Racing is Virtual, but it is so realistic that it doesn’t feel that way.

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Gaming

2K Reveals Details of the Jordan Challenge Mode Coming to NBA 2K23

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2K today unveiled new details and features of the Jordan Challenge mode coming to NBA 2K23. The game mode features 15 playable moments from Michael Jordan’s career that let players relive his legacy from the early days as a college sensation, to his game-winning shot in the 1998 NBA Finals.

“The Jordan Challenge is an immersive experience, unlike anything NBA 2K fans, have seen, completely rebuilding the challenges from 2K11 and adding five new moments,” said Erick Boenisch, VP of NBA Development at Visual Concepts. “Our team took everything into consideration when constructing this game mode; the arenas, the players, the uniforms, the broadcast, and the play style of the era have been accounted for in an effort to give fans a truly authentic and unique playable Jordan experience.”

The Jordan Challenge introduces iconic NBA moments and in-game innovations, including:

  • Experience a breathtaking recreation of a bygone era, from the 1982 NCAA National Championship to the 1998 NBA Finals. Each challenge features a pre-game interview with a luminary who was a part of what made every game special;
  • A complete presentational package including an intricately designed video filter system that recreates the television experience of these games as they were originally broadcast during the 1980s and 1990s, showcasing the look, feel and sound that take players back to the original game;
  • Key gameplay changes to fit the era, such as a heavier focus on the post and mid-range game and reworking the transition game for the 1980s feel, including tighter transition lanes and more players cutting to the basket with a numbers advantage, as opposed to the spotting up for three you see in today’s NBA;
  • More physicality modelled on the floor and in the paint, along with new signature style upgrades for classic greats like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, featuring all-new jump shot, layup and dunk packages;
  • Hand-checking and hard-hitting body-ups for a different feel to the one-on-one battles with accurately represented regulations that mirror the 1990s basketball era, like the Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” with their famous “Jordan Rules” and more.

NBA 2K23 is currently scheduled for release on September 9 for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC platforms.

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Displays

Review: MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor

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Gamers are very particular about the products they use for their setup. Apart from the gaming PC, the next most important thing is the display. Now, there are hundreds of capable gaming monitors available on the market. But if you are on the market for a 4K display that is both affordable and offers a high refresh rate, along with lots of bells and whistles, then you should definitely check out the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor.

The monitor comes packed with a QD-IPS panel, which means it comes with a Quantum Dot layer on top. The QD-IPS panel has been designed to enhance colour accuracy, offer a higher colour saturation, and provide a wider contrast ratio. All of this counts if you are on the market for a top-notch gaming monitor.

The MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD covers 99% of Adobe RGB colours, 97% DCI-P3 colour gamut and supports 82% of REC.2020 specs, thus offering a wholesome gaming experience. This is a 32-inch monitor that offers a UHD resolution of 3840-by-2160 pixels. It also offers a refresh rate of 144Hz, a response time of 1ms, 600 nits of HDR peak brightness, and an aspect ratio of 16:9.

The contrast ratio on this one is rated at 1000:1, and it offers 178° of both horizontal and vertical viewing angles, which is impressive. The surface of the monitor’s panel has been treated with an anti-glare coating for distraction-free gaming sessions.

In terms of I/O ports, you get a boatload. There’s one DisplayPort 1.4a, which supports UHD@144Hz. You also get two HDMI 2.1 ports and one USB Type-C port. In addition, there are six USB 2.0 Type-A ports, three USB 2.0 Type-B ports, one mic-in, one headphone-out, and one 3.5mm audio combo jack.

On the rear right-hand corner, you will also find a 5-way OSD navigation joystick, and just below it on the edges is where you will find the power button. The monitor is G-sync compatible and supports DisplayHDR 600 format. The monitor is tiltable at an angle ranging between -5° and 20°, swivel it between a range of -30° and 30°, and adjust its height from 0 to 100mm.

The monitor has also been optimised for use with the latest generation of consoles, including PS5 and Xbox. And since it is a gaming monitor, it also accompanies a bunch of SI gaming features including Smart Brightness, Smart Crosshair, Night Vision AI, and Sound Tune.

With the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD, MSI’s team has taken both design and craftsmanship to a whole new level. It is a beautifully designed gaming monitor and the build quality is top-notch. The MSI metal badge on the rear of the monitor gives you an assurance that your gaming experience is going to improve by a multitude.

MSI has also added a KVM to this monitor, which will be particularly useful for game streamers out there that use platforms such as YouTube or Twitch to stream their gameplay. This feature also helps you easily switch between a gaming PC and a gaming console, if both devices were plugged into this monitor at the same time.

Gaming on the MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor is a beautiful and fulfilling experience. Games such as Forza Horizon 5 looked brilliant thanks to its native HDR support. Even Elden Ring that uses Auto HDR looked really well.

The monitor also supports 1080p/4K 120Hz for the PS5, and 1080p/1440p/4K 120Hz with FreeSync for the compatible Xbox consoles. Thus gaming on the latest generation gaming consoles was a brilliant experience.

The MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor is a very capable monitor. It offers a high pixel density, consistent colours, a wide Adobe RGB colour gamut support, supports DisplayHDR 600, offers VRR + MBR of up to 144Hz, ergonomic design, extensive connectivity options, and built-in KVM.

The MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor is possibly one of the most feature-packed monitors out there in the market with a brilliant QD-IPS panel, and it thus walks away with the Gadget Voize Editors’ Choice award!

Price: AED 4200 approx.

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Product Information: https://arabianreseller.com/MSIMPG321UR-QD

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD eSports Gaming Monitor AED 4200 approx.
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The monitor has also been optimised for use with the latest generation of consoles, including PS5 and Xbox. And since it is a gaming monitor, it also accompanies a bunch of SI gaming features including Smart Brightness, Smart Crosshair, Night Vision AI, and Sound Tune.

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Gadgets

Review: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2022)

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Lenovo makes some great gaming laptops under the Legion brand. The new Legion 5 Pro is the latest to come out of its assembly line and it packs in great spec, very good design and build quality, and commendable performance.

The Legion range of laptops is aimed at gamers, the overall design of the Legion 5 Pro is very subtle – Lenovo has used a dark greyish exterior, which Lenovo calls “Storm Grey” without any design cues that scream “Gaming Laptop” in any sort way. Thus, the Legion 5 Pro will also be perfectly suitable for resource-hungry work, more notably for content creation, video rendering and so on. Because it’s got that kind of power.

Under the hood, the Legion 5 Pro is powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 -12700H processor running at a clock speed of 2.70-GHz. It also comes packed with a whopping 32GB of DDR5 RAM and 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage. For graphics, you get a choice of up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 with 8GB of GDDR6 dedicated memory.

As soon as you open the lid of the laptop, you come face-to-face with a 16-inches QHD IPS display that offers a resolution of 2560-by-1600 pixels. You get an aspect ratio of 16:10, a brightness of 500 nits, a refresh rate of 165Hz, a 3ms response time, and support of 100% sRGB colours. The display is also VESA DisplayHDR-certified and it supports Dolby Vision and NVIDIA G-SYNC.

For audio, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is equipped with a pair of 2W speakers powered by Nahimic Audio. On the top of the display, you will also find a 720p camera with an e-shutter. The laptop weighs a hefty 2.54-kgs and the overall build quality is solid.

What good is a gaming laptop if it ain’t got a multitude of I/O ports? Well, the Legion 5 Pro has got you covered. On the left edge, you get two USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4) ports along with the cooling vents.

On the right edge, you will find the USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, the camera’s E-Shutter button, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack.

On the rear, you get two USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4, power delivery) port, one HDMI 2.1 port, the RJ45 LAN port, and the power port.

The Legion 5 Pro also comes with a 4-Zone RGB backlight which had very good key travel. The touchpad was nice and responsive. The IPS panel on the Legion 5 Pro is crisp, the colours are stunning, and the size of the screen does offer that extra space you require especially when you are gaming or editing videos.

For testing the real-world performance we ran the Cinebench R23 benchmark on the Legion 5 Pro. In our single-core tests and multi-core tests, then Legion 5 Pro passed with flying colours, as seen below:

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is currently available at an asking price of AED 9399, which seems like a good price point if you compare the strong specs and performance it offers. It is well-designed, well-built, offers great performance and is an all-around laptop that can be used for both work and play.

Price: AED 9399

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2022) AED 9399
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The Legion range of laptops is aimed at gamers, the overall design of the Legion 5 Pro is very subtle – Lenovo has used a dark greyish exterior, which Lenovo calls “Storm Grey” without any design cues that scream “Gaming Laptop” in any sort way.

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