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Pixoul Gaming to Open in Abu Dhabi

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Putting Abu Dhabi straight on the international Esports map, Pixoul Gaming, the state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) and Esports hub will open later this year at Al Qana, Abu Dhabi’s most exciting waterfront destination. Appealing to professional and amateur gamers alike, Pixoul Gaming is an integrated, immersive entertainment destination through its elaborate Virtual Reality Gaming Zone.

While the Esports Academy provides a focused training facility for serious gaming athletes. Empowering the future Esports champions of the world, Pixoul Gaming will foster an elite community, launching the first ever Esports Academy in the Middle East and will host global gaming tournaments in its 800-seat capacity arena to become a beacon for mega competitions. The Academy also includes an Esports bar, a gaming community twist on a typical sports bar, where global gaming events can be viewed while enjoying F&B.

With its array of VR, retro, console, mobile, and Esports games, Pixoul Gaming will not only have the best facilities in the region but will also cater to the entire gaming ecosystem – from game development and education to thrilling immersive experiences, from professional solo, multi-player and team gaming to hosting global gaming festivals. Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries in the MENA region. The UAE’s digital gaming sector is estimated to reach US$930 million by 2025, and Pixoul Gaming will highlight Abu Dhabi as the global leader in Esports, broadcasting to millions of fans.

Pixoul will be at the forefront of this digital entertainment revolution by producing a destination that makes gaming accessible and appealing to all. So, whether a FIFA fan is looking to connect with fellow gamers, a family looking to enjoy an interactive VR experience, or a group of friends looking to win big at the latest tournament, Pixoul Gaming is the ideal integrated entertainment venue for all ages and abilities.

Paul Hamilton, General Manager at Pixoul Gaming, said, “As an integrated, immersive entertainment destination with the region’s first Esports Academy, Pixoul has the potential to redefine the modern gaming experience. We believe that everyone should be a gamer today as Esports fosters creativity, encourages problem-solving, and builds leadership skills. So, we designed Pixoul Gaming to offer a new world of digital amusement and showcase Abu Dhabi as a global leader in Esports and digital entertainment.

“The goal is to bring serious gaming into the Middle East, to train professionals at our Academy to compete on a global level while also hosting the international tournaments in our elite coliseum of gaming where the biggest, best gamers on the planet will perform to a live audience of 800+, watched by millions across the world. The venue is almost complete, and we’ll be ready to welcome gamers by Q4 of 2022. We are working with the leading international experts and technology partners such as Robocom VR to offer our guests the latest and the best experience,” continued Hamilton.

As soon as you enter Pixoul, you will be invited to join the VR mission to save the unique world of Pixoul Planet. Open to everyone, the story is about the rise and fall of a new world and the people who created it. Karim Ibrahim, Co-founder of Pixoul Gaming and CEO of Robocom VR, commented, “As technology partners and creators of this custom-built VR mission, we are excited to take gamers on an unprecedented adventure across cinematic and interactive experiences. At Robocom VR, our mission is to innovate the static gaming experience, inviting users to a portal into new dimensions of gaming and take control over their destiny while fully immersed in Virtual Reality Entertainment.

“At Pixoul Gaming, we have introduced the region’s first fully wireless headsets in an open world cross-platform metaverse. With no unnecessary cables or heavy backpacks, the HTC Focus 3 headsets are fully synced with 4D and motion platform simulators to blur virtual reality’s boundaries ultimately. Across these ten integrated experiences, each lasting 6-10 minutes, there is a never seen before journey of flight & racing simulators, escape rooms, shooting games, paragliding, and rollercoasters – promising to push the boundaries of human imagination and set new standards of interactive and immersive entertainment.”

Virtual Reality Gaming – Pixoul Planet
As the flagship experience, the Pixoul Planet VR houses 10 different virtual and augmented reality games, including everything from shooters, and virtual roller coasters, to guided spaceship tours of the new intergalactic planet, Pixoul. Available in both story and arcade mode, the multi-sensory game is built on preserving the future city, Pixoul Planet, which is under attack and calls for help from visitors.

The story starts with the catastrophic news of corruption, plague, war, and diseases spreading across Earth, where four scientists gather their efforts into creating a new technology that could power intergalactic travel and set a path into what would be called Pixoul Planet.

Fast forward through time, the mission launches the four founders and a thousand hand-picked people representing humanity’s variety and condensed knowledge. Upon a rough landing, they distribute manpower and resources and use the newfound Pixoul Technology to power the construction of the new planet.

After years of construction, they build Legacy City, a sustainable green city that suffices the population’s needs but at the cost of the health of the founders. After entering Cryo Chambers to sleep for a year and re-generate their strength, when they are woken by ERIC, their Emotionally Recuperating Indestructible Companion, he guides them on their mission to defeat the enemies and reclaim their freedom.

Esports Academy
The Academy will have special classrooms where local and international coaches can train individuals and teams. In addition, for the first time in the region, Pixoul will invite international gaming champions to give lucky users one-on-one training and teach them their winning secrets.

With safe learning and responsibility in mind, The Dean of the Academy will oversee the teaching schedule and certifications and ensure that consumers are empowered with the tools and knowledge to play responsibly. Additionally, taking a 360 approach, the Academy will provide students with the equipment, assistance, and understanding of the gaming ecosystem, increasing job opportunities and allowing youth to achieve excellence through the medium of esports.

The Esports Academy is where the pro-gamers can step into an area of fast-paced action. Pixoul will be home to the region’s first-ever Esports Academy, enabling future gaming champions. With a special entrance for elite gamers, the space will be exclusively designed to provide gamers a chance to compete and train, develop their skills, and advance their Esports careers, which will inadvertently contribute to the development of the Esports industry in the Middle East region.

Mobile gaming – high-speed internet/jacks/fans/mobiles for gaming. We will also have a thing; there is such a thing as gaming mobiles, these are gaming phones that are not targeting cellular, these phones are high performing for gaming, some of these phones are even cooled by water, real serious mobiles, we will have some of those here for rent as well.

Esports Bar Console and Retro Gaming
For those who enjoyed the first gaming iteration, the Retro Gaming Zone will be a nostalgia-themed area packed with arcade machines featuring classic and old-school gaming such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Built for everyone, these single and multi-player games offer a comforting yet simple and joyous experience that’s tough to replicate.

Esports tournaments are now streamed to millions of spectators across the globe, with teams competing for huge prize draws. Esports fans looking to learn new skills or simply watch their favorite players compete, the Esports Bar will show the most prominent global events of the year. Serving a delicious array of food and beverage, it will become the go-to hang-out place for teenagers and gaming fans.

Pixoul Gaming has created the perfect chill zone for those looking to relax with friends with comfy bean bags, big screens, and your choice of console gaming. Capable of hosting all types of games, including Fortnite, Pokemon, and Minecraft, gamers can play their favorite games on advanced devices in a great environment.

Gaming Streaming and Broadcasting Studios
One of the biggest drivers of the Esport industry’s commercial growth is broadcasting gaming events and game experiences by professional gamers and internet stars. Pixoul Gaming will feature facilities with high-spec equipment for producing on-site amateur and professional content.

Esports Event Hall
With over 800 people, Pixoul Gaming will also feature one of the largest gaming arenas in the region for international-level competitions, equipped with a 78m2 LED screen and supporting sound and lighting system. The Arena will serve as an enticing attraction for regional and international sponsors, positioning Abu Dhabi as a regional hub for Esports, and will offer exclusive viewing facilities, such as a VIP Lounge. In addition, the Arena will host Esports events of all types, bringing the best of the best down onto the stage to play to a crowd of live fans while millions watch the event online.

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Gadgets

CORSAIR Launches New HS35 v2 Gaming Headsets

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CORSAIR has announced the release of its HS35 v2 series gaming headsets, including the HS35 v2 and HS35 SURROUND v2 models. These headsets are designed to enhance the audio experience across various gaming platforms due to their universal 3.5mm connectivity, making them compatible with PCs, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

The HS35 v2 series features custom-tuned 50mm neodymium drivers that deliver a broad and dynamic range of sound, enhancing the auditory detail within games. Additionally, the HS35 SURROUND v2 model includes a USB receiver that activates Dolby Audio 7.1 surround sound on PC and Mac, providing a more immersive audio environment. This feature is particularly beneficial in competitive games, allowing players to accurately discern the direction of enemy movements and audio cues.

Designed for comfort during extended gaming sessions, the HS35 v2 headsets feature an adjustable suspended headband to alleviate head pressure, and soft fabric ear pads to keep ears cool and comfortable. The headsets also come equipped with on-ear controls for easy volume adjustment and muting, as well as a flexible omnidirectional microphone for clear communication.

Available in three colours—classic black, muted red, and deep blue—the HS35 v2 series can be purchased from the CORSAIR webstore and select retailers. They are immediately available in North America and will be available in Europe and other regions worldwide on April 30. CORSAIR offers a two-year warranty for both models, supported by its global customer service and technical support network.

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Gadgets

Razer Launches Blade 18 Gaming Laptop

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Razer has launched the Razer Blade 18 (2024) for gamers and creators. Featuring the world’s first 18” 4K 200Hz display with up to UHD+ (3840×2400) resolution, 3.0ms response time, and DCI-P3 100% colour gamut; Calman Verified and factory-calibrated, this Blade 18 offers gamers and creators ultra-high-definition visuals at breakneck refresh rates for an unmatched viewing experience.

The Blade 18 also packs in Thunderbolt 5 technology that allows users to connect multiple high-resolution gaming displays, high-speed storage, and all-in-one docks, through Bandwidth Boost, up to 120 Gbps, three times more bandwidth than the current leading connection protocol. The Blade 18 is powered by Intel Core 14th Gen i9-14900HX processor, which comes with 24 Cores and the ability to unlock overclocking through Razer Synapse.

You also get up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Graphics, unlocking up to 175 W Full TGP (Total Graphics Power), and leveraging NVIDIA’s AI-powered DLSS 3 to deliver faster framerates and real-time ray tracing. GeForce RTX technologies are supported in more than 500 popular games and applications, including blockbuster games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake 2. NVIDIA RTX Laptop GPUs are packed with specialized AI Tensor Cores enabling unmatched AI performance in creative apps, ultra-efficient productivity, blistering fast gaming, and more.

The Blade 18 accompanies an 18-inch QHD+ 300Hz Mini-LED Alternate Display Option: For even higher-refresh-rate gaming and up to 1K nits peak brightness, this all-new display option provides a stunning alternative that maintains sharpness in gameplay, creative work, or play, wherever one may be. It features QHD+ (2560×1600) resolution, 2K dimming zones with a new toggle on/off feature, and all the colour accuracy that is a hallmark of the newest Blades, including DCI-P3 100% colour gamut and Calman Verification and calibration at the factory.

The Blade 18’s advanced cooling system, featuring the thinnest exhaust fins in its class, maximizes graphics power and maintains desktop-class performance in a thin design. The vapour chamber technology features a 3-fan system, and Razer’s biggest chamber ever, to quickly and efficiently dissipate heat, ensuring optimal performance even under intense gaming or 3D rendering sessions. Equipped with a 5MP webcam, a THX spatial audio 6-speaker array, upgradeable components, a comprehensive port selection, and the latest Wi-Fi 7 connectivity, the Blade 18 ensures constant connection and immersion, whether for gaming, streaming, or online calls. It even includes a GaN charger (Up to 330W) which is up to 60% smaller than comparable silicon-based solutions.

The Razer Blade 18 (2024) is now available for a price of $3099.99.

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Artificial Intelligence

Ubisoft Intros NEO NPCs in Partnership with Nvidia

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In a creative experiment shown during GDC 2024, a team of game creators from Ubisoft explored the future of Non-Player Characters (NPCs), interactive gameplay, and emergent storytelling. Ubisoft is exploring new types of interactive gameplay with dynamic NPCs, a field that is being revolutioniwed with the emergence of generative AI technologies. “NEO NPCs”, the product of their latest research and development project are advanced NPCs designed to interact in real-time with players, their environment and other characters, opening up new possibilities for dynamic and emergent storytelling.

“AI is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance players’ experiences by making games more dynamic, immersive and unique,” said John Spitzer, vice president of developer and performance technologies at NVIDIA. “We are thrilled to partner with Ubisoft to leverage NVIDIA ACE in the advancement of digital characters.”

Developed by a multidisciplinary team at Ubisoft Paris, NEO NPCs are born from the close collaboration between Ubisoft creators and leading GenAI technology partners, NVIDIA and Inworld AI. Inworld’s Character Engine and LLM technology enable Ubisoft’s narrative team to build a complete background, knowledge base and conversational style for each NPC, while NVIDIA Audio2Face, part of NVIDIA ACE suite of technologies, is used to enable real-time facial animation.

Ubisoft showcased the capabilities of these NEO NPCs through three separate demo scenarios. Each scenario focuses on different aspects of NPC behaviours, environmental and contextual awareness; a spectrum of real-time reactions and animations; as well as conversation memory, collaboration and strategic decision-making. Combined, these discoveries through the experiment push the boundaries of game design and immersion.

“Gen AI will enable player experiences that are yet to be imagined, with smarter worlds, nuanced characters, and emergent and adaptive narratives,” said Guillemette Picard, Ubisoft’s SVP of Production Technology. “By partnering with NVIDIA on our NEO NPCs prototype: NVIDIA’s Audio2Face solution helped us to create deeper immersion through real-time facial animations for truly improvisational NPC conversations.”

With NEO NPCs, Ubisoft’s narrative and animation designers blended the reliability of scripted game elements with the dynamism of spontaneous player interactions, nudging the future of game development towards new horizons. Leveraging Inworld AI technology, Ubisoft’s narrative team created two NEO NPCs, Bloom and Iron, who have their own background story, knowledge base, and different conversational styles to establish these unique characters in the demo universe.   

Inworld technology also provides the NEO NPCs with intrinsic knowledge of their surroundings, as well as interactive responses courtesy of Inworld’s LLM. Audio2Face provides facial animations and lip-synching for the two NPCs’ faces in real time. NVIDIA also released a new Game Ready driver for Horizon Forbidden West. The latest Game Ready Driver primes gamers’ PCs or laptops for Horizon Forbidden West Complete Edition. Featuring day-one support for DLSS 3, DLAA and Reflex, GeForce gamers should download and install this new driver for the definitive experience when using these technologies in the critically acclaimed game.

This Game Ready Driver also includes support for the latest DLSS 3.5 update for Portal with RTX which introduces DLSS Ray Reconstruction and NVIDIA RTX IO, 11 G-SYNC Compatible gaming displays, and 2 new Optimal Settings, enabling users to jump into the latest games with great performance and image quality, without the need to tweak settings manually.

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