July 24, 2007 - LAN gaming has become something of a phenomenon. Previously confined to grotty internet cafes crammed with people playing Counter-Strike on a handful of low-spec PCs, the world of online gaming has now evolved into a professional sport. And like real-life sports played in spectacular stadiums, online gaming is set to get its very own high-tech arena when Omega Sektor opens in Birmingham this August.
Indeed, Omega Sektor promises to be a shrine to LAN gaming and the flagship centre will be the biggest gaming venue in the UK. It will be packed with over 400 top-spec PCs, next-generation consoles and a library of 100 games, with visitors free to compete in low-key matches or get stuck into proper organised events. The venue will include a chill-out zone too, kitted out with MP3 players and hi-def TVs showing the latest films and trailers - perfect for anyone needing to give their trigger fingers a rest.
Omega Sektor, located on Birmingham's Corporation Street, opens its doors on August 10, but ahead of the grand unveiling we spoke to sales and marketing director Adrian Le Mans about what we can expect from Britain's premier gaming venue.
IGN: How does Omega Sektor differ from any other LAN centre?
Adrian Le Mans: Omega Sektor is much more than any LAN centre or gaming experience currently available in the UK. LAN centres are traditionally quite small and only offer gaming and internet access. Omega Sektor will offer visitors an all-round entertainment experience - from playing some of the hundred plus games to watching films, listening to music and meeting with friends in the cafes and chill-out areas. The centre is somewhere people can go for a whole day or evening out and will evolve the way people play games socially. It will also house Birmingham's largest internet caf┐.
IGN: Who do you see as the typical visitor, and why should they want to come to the centre?
Adrian Le Mans: It's about gaming for everyone. Visitors will include gamers, used-to-be gamers, families, girls, silver surfers and groups of friends of all ages. Gamers will come to play on state-of-the-art equipment and enjoy the fun of challenging other gamers and making friends. Families will come to enjoy the special family days which will be organised to make sure every member of the family has a great time. Girls will come to challenge the lads and silver surfers will come to one of our PC awareness courses and challenge the grandkids.
IGN: You're calling Omega Sektor the next recreation destination but what does this mean?
Adrian Le Mans: Recreation is a crucial part of modern life. We work so hard in the modern world that we need a place to socialise, escape and have fun. Omega Sektor is a place to visit where gaming will bring people together and encourage them to chill out and have fun. Like other recreation destinations including major attractions and theme parks, we will welcome people from across the country.
IGN: Can you tell us a little more about the games and equipment people will be able to play?
Adrian Le Mans: Equipment and games at the centre will be provided by some of the biggest names in technology and games publishing. Intel, a key partner, is working with leading manufacturer Scan to provide 450 state-of-the-art Intel Core 2 Quad based PCs. A number of major publishers are also involved and we'll be announcing more details over the next few weeks.
IGN: Are there any plans to open more centres in the UK and the rest of Europe?
Adrian Le Mans: Yes. Plans are already in place for Omega Sektor London as well as launches in other major cities throughout the UK and Europe.
IGN: Will you be previewing games before their launch?
Adrian Le Mans: Absolutely. We are already working with the publisher partners to plan 'first play' sessions for key titles so visitors to the centre will get to experience new games before they hit the shelves.
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