Pixoul Gaming, Abu Dhabi's huge esports and virtual-reality hub, to open soon

The sprawling space at Al Qana aims to attract gamers into the capital and position itself as the regional go-to for events

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Pixoul Gaming, a massive esports and virtual-reality gaming complex at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi, is nearing completion. It is expected to open in the next few months, but an exact date has not yet been announced.

"The venue is almost complete, and we'll be ready to welcome gamers by Q4 of 2022," says Paul Hamilton, general manager of the space.

The hub at Al Qana, a 2.4-kilometre waterfront destination, aims to attract gamers to the capital by offering something for everyone.

Casual gamers will be able to play consoles, while those who are more serious hobbyists will be able to enrol in the certified Esports Academy, a first in the region, or enjoy the broadcasting studio where they can livestream using the latest technology.

“We believe that everyone should be a gamer today as esport fosters creativity, encourages problem-solving and builds leadership skills," says Hamilton. "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."

In addition to helping to foster the gaming community, Pixoul has plans to host tournaments from around the world and offer educational programmes. "We will offer courses beyond 'how to game'" says Hamilton. "Everything related to gaming will be part of our full-fledged educational programme for courses, such as 'how to code'."

Ahead of its opening, here are five things you need to know about Pixoul Gaming.

It will offer virtual-reality gaming

Pixoul Planet VR will offer 10 virtual and augmented reality games, in partnership with Robocom VR, that range from first-person shooters to roller coasters, paragliding and escape rooms. They will last between six and 10 minutes and feature the region's first fully wireless headsets in an open-world cross-platform metaverse. Unlike other VR games, there will be no unnecessary cables or heavy backpacks for players to carry.

Karim Ibrahim, co-founder of Pixoul Gaming and chief executive of Robocom VR, says: “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 to take control over their destiny while fully immersed in virtual-reality entertainment."

It will have the region's first Esports Academy

At the first Esports Academy in the Middle East, coaches will be able to train individual gamers and teams, offering tips on how to improve their skills. It will also invite champion professional gamers to hold one-on-one training sessions with students.

It will have an esports bar and offer retro gaming

For those who remember the days of Pac-Man and Space Invaders, there will be a zone dedicated to retro gaming. There will also be a unique esports bar showing global gaming events that visitors can enjoy watching with food and drinks. The space will have big screens, beanbags and a choice of consoles to play.

It will have gaming streaming services

Looking to be the next big Twitch gaming star? The hub will have an area with high-spec equipment to make streaming easier. Open to amateur or professional gamers, those who are looking for ways to perfect their livestreaming can visit the space.

It will feature an esports events hall

The Abu Dhabi venue also aims to position itself as the regional go-to for gaming events. A dedicated esports events hall will house 78-square-metre LED screens and there will be a VIP lounge for those who want to watch the action up close.

Hamilton says: “The goal is to bring serious gaming into the Middle East and 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."

Updated: August 30, 2022, 1:32 PM