DUBAI // Hundreds of gamers swarmed the Dubai World Trade Centre’s Hall 1 as this year’s Gaming Alliance Middle East Show (Games13) kicked off on Thursday.
Video game enthusiasts were eager to to try out the next generation of console gaming with yet to be launched Sony PlayStation4 (PS4) and Microsoft Xbox One being a top priority for most of the visitors.
Music, explosions, gun fire, screeching tyres, and screams of joy filled the hall. Giant screens displayed the latest in digital entertainment from the New Forza Motorsport 5 racing simulator and the rebooting of Thief, a stealth action adventure.
Games13, the largest video games show in the Middle East, offers video game enthusiasts an opportunity to play and watch demonstrations of the most anticipated games from the world’s leading international video game publishers. Video game publishers and manufacturers will showcase games and hardware catering to both casual and hardcore gamers alike.
Sony finally announced a release date for the PS4, it will hit shelves in the UAE on December 13, 2013. The PS4 will launch with the support of 15 titles released before the New Year.
In the meantime long queues of avid gamers snaked out of the PS4 tent, all wanting to get their hand on the new controller and see if the system could meet all the hype.
“I’ve already pre-ordered it of course, but I can’t wait to try it,” said 19-year-old Amer Abdulla. “I was disappointed to hear it would be delayed to December 13. We thought it would be out by late November.”
The console wars were in full swing this year as the features of each system have been announced slowly.
“PlayStation for life,” said Jaffar Ali, 22. “The PS always has better titles and a better variety of games, and it has always been the more powerful system. That’s still true with the PS4 and the Xbox One.”
“The Xbox has always been more user-friendly,” said Omar Abdul Momin, 20, “It has better integration with other devices and social media. The Kinect is far superior to any other interactive device out there, and then you have games like Halo and Gear of War that just speak for themselves.”
But standing on its own attracting as much attention, if not more than Sony and Microsoft was the Call of Duty: Ghosts booth. The queue of fans wanting to try the latest in the leading military first-person shooters was going around the booth.
Ghosts will be the tenth main installment in the series, which is set to be released on November 5.
Gamers will have the chance to win big with Xbox’s FIFA14 tournament, with prize money of over Dh25,000 up for grabs.
Other events include a Need for Speed Tournament, a Tekken Tournament, and a “rock-paper-scissors” competition.
Last year, the exhibition received more than 20,000 visitors over a three-day period, making it the most anticipated show for gaming enthusiasts in the region.
“With over 70 per cent of the audience above the age of 16, the show demolishes the common myth that video games are only for kids,” said Nitin Mathew, the show organiser. “A major chunk of the video gaming community are adults who see it as an essential part of their entertainment diet.”
While PlayStation and Xbox are the two major video game hardware platforms in the Middle East, software publishers represented include Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and many more.
“You have to try Batman,” said an excited gamer who just stepped out of the Batman Arkham Origins booth. “It is amazing, I didn’t think they could improve on Arkham City, but this is just incredible. You have to try it.”
Another popular title was Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag.
“The best part of Assassin’s Creed III was the marine combat, the rest of the game was disappointing. So I’m very excited to see that they’ve concentrated on that aspect this time around,” said 32 year-old banker Ravi Raghuram.