Abu Dhabi's biggest e-sports hub to open next year

The hub will be based in new waterfront development Al Qana and will also feature the region's first certified e-sports academy

The upcoming e-sports hub Pixel will also house a certified e-sports academy. Courtesy Al Qana
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Al Qana, a new waterfront destination in Abu Dhabi, will host the emirate's largest e-sports and virtual reality gaming complex, its developer Al Barakah International Investment said in a statement on Tuesday.

The new gaming hub, called Pixel, will be completed by next year and will cater to families, gamers and technology enthusiasts.

Abu Dhabi-based Al Barakah is joining forces with Lebanon-based Robocom VR, which will provide the content and technology for the hub.

“Our partnership with Robocom VR will position Pixel as one of the most sought-after VR and e-sports destinations in the UAE,” Fouad Mashal, chief executive of Al Barakah, said.

Pixel will also house the region's first certified e-sports academy  with the mission of highlighting the importance of playing responsibly, he added.

The gaming industry – split into mobile games, e-sports streaming, console purchases and more –  is currently the most profitable form of entertainment in the world.

Worldwide, the gaming industry is worth $148.8 billion, while the market in the Middle East and Africa is valued at about $4.8bn, accounting for just 3 per cent of the global value, according to a last November report by market research firm Newzoo.

“There’s a constant demand for new and diverse location-based entertainment centres that fit the global standards across the Middle East,” Karim Ibrahim, chief executive of Robocom VR, said.

“With Pixel, gamers will have a chance to fully immerse themselves into new dimensions of gaming ... we will provide an opportunity for gamers to grow and develop their professional talent to compete in international competitions and tournaments,” said Mr Ibrahim.

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.

An aerial view of Al Qana. Courtesy Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities and Al Barakah International Investment
An aerial view of Al Qana. Courtesy Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities and Al Barakah International Investment

Located on the Khor Al Maqta waterway, Al Qana is set to open in Abu Dhabi by the end of this year. With over 50 per cent of the leasable area assigned to entertainment, it is spread across seven districts, totalling more than 2.4 kilometres.