VR hub Pixel to shine on Abu Dhabi horizon


UAE Abu Dhabi Al Qana Esports Complex Image: Al Qana

A virtual reality (VR) gaming complex – including a certified esports academy – will be an added draw at Al Qana, Abu Dhabi’s new leisure and entertainment district.

Pixel, the VR gaming hub set to open in 2021, is the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently between Karim Ibrahim, CEO, Robocom VR, and Fouad Mashal, CEO, Al Barakah International Investment, the developer of Abu Dhabi’s Al Qana.

Mashal, CEO, Al Barakeh International Investment, informed, “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. Pixel will also include the first-ever certified eSports academy in the region with the mission of highlighting the importance of playing responsibly.”

Al Qana, located along the picturesque Rabdan area, the historic natural waterway bordering the mainland, is one of Abu Dhabi’s iconic destinations that are easily traversed from the island.

Part of Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030, Al Qana is the first ever Build-Operate-Transfer model project being developed by the Department of Municipalities and Transport and Al Barakeh International Investment, the company responsible for developing Al Qana.

Vision 2030 envisages Abu Dhabi becoming the most popular global destination for business, leisure, lifestyle and entertainment.

Apart from the futuristic tech hub, what goes into Abu Dhabi’s Al Qana mega project is a massive wellness hub, an awe-inspiring
15-screen cinema megaplex and a giant aquarium.

Robocom VR, the virtual reality company which began operations from Lebanon, Beirut and is presently a global entity, has concentrated on location-based entertainment in the form of VR gaming in modern arcades. The challenge now lies in building the Middle East region’s evolving esports infrastructure – Pixel being the latest in this evolution.

Karim Ibrahim, CEO, Robocom VR, remarked, “There’s a constant demand for new and diverse location-based entertainment centers 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.”

“We will provide an opportunity for gamers to grow and develop their professional talent to compete in international competitions and tournaments. Building VR hubs is the bread and butter of Robocom VR and we are excited to reveal gamers’ heaven, the most integrated gaming experience at Al Qana Abu Dhabi, for the UAE and the rest of the world,” he added.

The revenues of the whole gaming industry are estimated to be larger than those of worldwide box offices, music streaming and album sales, and major sports leagues combine.

“The unlocking of sponsorship, advertising, and media rights is projected to increase [esports’] annual global revenue to more than $1.7 billion by 2021, around one percent of the total gaming market,” a January 2020 Strategy & Report mentioned.

The gaming industry is worth $129bn per year, and by comparison, the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) gaming market is expected to be worth $821 million by 2021.

Ibrahim’s strategy to put the Middle East on the map for esports, means finding and developing the right gamers, sending them abroad to play with international teams, and bringing them back to continue building up the regional esports segment with the benefit of that experience.

Ibrahim affirmed, “We don’t want to be an internet cafe. This is a professional establishment, and we will teach you how to become a professional.”

When asked why he decided to create an esports academy in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Ibrahim said that his ultimate goal “is to create an ecosystem that, in my opinion, does not yet exist in the region.”

The GCC is a political and economic union of six member-countries – UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Al Qana dissected

Diversified into seven key districts, the 2.4 km of waterfront Al Qana has the best in dining, entertainment, retail, wellness, gaming and adventure – in short – something for everyone.

Marina Views

Chock-a-block with seafood restaurants, water sports, a yacht marina with 98 boat berths, lavish lounges, marine services, Marina Views is the perfect spot for yacht owners, water-sports enthusiasts and families to eat, drink and soak up the sun.

Community Convenience

This space offers a range of retail and leisure options for families to enjoy and is especially designed for visitors to find every requirement at their fingertips. Centrally located within Al Qana, this community area has a large-scale supermarket, restaurants and cafes, convenience stores and a variety of essential retail shops for the neighboring community.

Cinema Experience

Entertainment and fun galore, this district has a massive cinema theater complex screening the latest in blockbusters, a mindblowing outdoor amphitheater that will host special events throughout the year from festivals, concerts and exhibitions. Overground water shows using sensory technologies of water, sound and light to create magical moments enthralls.

Fun and Activities

This hub is a bonanza for the gamers in love with adventure-driven games viz., a virtual reality gaming complex and thrill seekers looking for physical activity via a dedicated trampolining center that also features a huge indoor park. One is left spoilt for choice with wall-running, dodge-ball courts, foam pits and more fun activities urging to warm up or work out.

The futuristic open-spaced VR section redefines the whole fun quotient with a range of augmented reality (AR), VR and experiential experiences.

With a focus on interaction and immersion, this hub is also a safe haven for kids and adults to exercise, test their gaming skills, grab a bite and just let their hair down.

Fitness and Wellbeing

If one wants to build muscles or shed flab there’s no better way to warm up or workout than on the Al Qana waterfront. The fitness boutique includes a state-of-the-art health and fitness center, the latest trends in group classes, personal training and nutritional coaching to achieve transformational results for their mind, body and soul.

Thrown into the fitness circuit are jogging paths and cycling tracks around the entire boundary.

Aquarium Adventure

The immersive underwater exploration takes in a 5,000 sqm awe-inspiring aquarium, the longest water tunnel in UAE, live underwater shows and to dive deeper into the underwater world and explore over 250 species of fish, birds, amphibians, arachnids and reptiles.

An irresistible destination for residents and tourists, this aquarium will feature the longest water tunnel encouraging people to dive deeper into the underwater world and explore over 250 species of fish, amphibians, arachnids and reptiles. The space will also host over 60 exhibitions, interactive underwater shows, live scuba diving feeding sessions and nautical inspired cafes, restaurants and shops for families and children to enjoy.

Socialize and Dine


Exclusive Restaurants/Valet Parking/Marina Views/Personalized Service

A gourmet or a gourmand, Al Qana’s extraordinary restaurants offer amazing service combined with breathtaking views. Nestled at the end of the development overlooking the stunning skyline and waterfront, this dedicated dining space offers a blend of both high quality restaurants and family dining experiences.

The unique cuisine is sure to tickle the palate and the fun ambience enamors visitors and locals alike. Al Qana will host one of Abu Dhabi’s largest varieties of gastronomical delights with a vibrant waterfront dining experience.

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