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rAge gears up for geekery and great escapism

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The really Awesome gaming expo (rAge) returns to Johannesburg on 7 to 9 October, offering visitors a range of competitions, eSports tournaments, exhibitions, industry guests, and panel discussions.

The really Awesome gaming expo (rAge) promises a “galaxy of everything that is geek” at the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate bear Johannesburg from 7 to 9 October. The expo has evolved over the years to become a spectacular event attended by tens of thousands of people who descend on the Dome for three days of gaming, technology, gadgets and geek lifestyle entertainment.

Returning for its fourteenth year, rAge Expo is SA’s biggest video game, technology and geek culture event. Suitable for the whole family, rAge offers visitors an unrivalled experience that includes competitions, eSports tournaments, exhibitions, industry guests, and panels. Celebrating gaming and popular culture, the expo caters for casual fans and dedicated gamers alike.

Tyhe organisers have provided the following overview of the highlights:

eSports

One of the main attractions at rAge this year is the three eSports tournaments. Visitors will be able to spectate all the matches daily as they will be taking place live on the main show floor.

·         Telkom DGL Masters [Dota 2 / Counter-Strike: Global Offensive] – Platform: PC / R1,000,000 prize pool

·         Call of Duty World League (CWL) Monster Astro Gaming (MAG) Cup [Call of Duty: Black Ops III] – Platform: PS4 / R120,000 prize pool

·         African Challenge Esport (ACE) gaming tournament [FIFA 17] – Platform: Xbox One/ R18,000 prize pool

The Telkom Digital Gaming Championship (DGC) will also be happening over the weekend, where 500 of the best competitors from seven online leagues have been invited to take part in the VIP LAN.

 

Computers, Hardware & Gadgets

·         Apex Interactive will reveal a new range of accessories and headsets, including the new NACON GC-400ES Alpha Pad – the most accurate eSports-focused PC controller ever.

·         Plantronics will be showcasing a new console headset lineup, featuring the RIG 800 series, the first wireless headset for console gaming with a 24-hour battery life.

·         NAG and MSI will be hosting overclocking workshops throughout the course of the weekend on stand 29.

 

Animation & Motion Suits

·         The Learn 3D Computer Animation School will be running competitions based on games that Learn 3D students have developed this year, as well as showcasing a new motion capture suit called the Perception Neuron.

 

Geek Culture & Lifestyle

·         Sera Blue will be launching their new book Relative Scale – an anthology written by Abi Godsell.

·         Cosplay workshops will be held on the cosplay stage during the course of the weekend. Topics include wig styling, a make-up panel and a Cosplay 101 Q&A.

·         Hot 91.9 FM will be broadcasting live from the expo. Visit their stand for old-school classic arcade games and Scalextric toys, as well as branded merchandise.

 

Virtual Reality

·         Blue Ocean VR will be showcasing both VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality).

·         The Virtual Space will be running VR demos on their stand. The demos will include 360-degree video, interactive games and educational apps.

 

Games

·         The following games will be showcased on the Megarom stand (stand 52):  For Honor, Steep, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Eagle Flight, Final Fantasy XV, Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and Hitman.

·         The Megarom Demo Room at Castle Corner will be showcasing two titles from Ubisoft: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Watch Dogs 2.

·         Skylanders Imaginators will be on stand 48.

·         LEGO Dimensions (Year 1 + 2) unreleased content playable on the show floor at stand 49.

·         Dishonored 2 will be behind closed doors (invite-only) and no hands-on.

·         The Warner Bros. Games stand will feature Injustice 2 (behind closed doors, no hands-on) and Batman: Return to Arkham, which will be playable on stand 54.

·         Stand 27 is where you will find Xbox, 2K and EA with the following titles: FIFA 17, XCOM 2, Mafia III, NBA 2K17, BioShock: The Collection, Forza Horizon 3, Recall, We Happy Few, Everspace, Cuphead.

·         PlayStation VR will be at stand 31 with the following titles: Batman, Rigs, Rush of Blood and VR Worlds (Ocean Descent and The Getaway).

·         Also featured on the PlayStation stand will be GT Sport, Gravity Rush 2 and PES17.

·         At the Apex Interactive stand (stand 5) you can catch Warhammer: The End Times Vermintide, WRC 6 and Farming Simulator 17.

·         Echoplex, a psychological puzzle game that pits your wits against your past self, is one of many local games that will be showcased on the home_coded booth.

·         Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale will also be on the home_coded booth. There will be a limited edition physical version of the game (i.e. a boxed copy with a game disc inside) for sale to visitors. It’s a first-person adventure game set on a remote farmstead in South Africa.

·         Cape Town developers Amplify Games will be launching the alpha version of their new video game, Polygod, at the home_coded booth.

 

Competitions & Giveaways

·         Matrix Warehouse Computers will be running three competitions at their stand, including a R50,000 Ultimate Gaming PC giveaway.

·         The Entelect Challenge finals and prize-giving will be hosted on the stage from 10-11am on Saturday.

·         The sixth annual rAge Cosplay Competition will be hosted on the cosplay stage on Sunday from 2-4pm.

·         Blue Ocean VR will be hosting an AR (Augmented Reality) treasure hunt at their stand and visitors can win awesome prizes.

·         The Call of Duty MAG Cup Celebrity Challenge starts at 1:30pm on Friday and will see two celebrity teams face each other in a battle for glory. Team Red will feature musician Jack Parow, comedian Jason Goliath and rugby player Rohan Janse van  Rensburg, with team captain Ismail “Jakez” Jacobs from eN_Astra. Team Blue will be led by Insane Gaming’s Kaelin “Tanker” Govender and will feature journalist Pippa Tshabalala, musician AKA and comedian Deep Fried Man.

 

rAge Expo is shaping up to be an unmissable event for geeks and gamers everywhere, with a long list of activities, AAA games and specialty stages to keep the whole family entertained. Tickets are still available, so make sure you book yours now!

 

For more information on rAge, please visit www.rageexpo.co.za.

 

Event Details:

Dates: 7 October – 9 October 2016
Show times: Friday: 10:00-18:00 | Saturday: 09:00-18:00 | Sunday: 10:00-16:00
Day ticket: R120 per person (Tickets available at the door or via Ticketpro outlets)
Weekend ticket: R300 per person (Tickets available at the door or via Ticketpro outlets)
Kids under 6: Free
Venue: Ticketpro Dome  | Cnr Olievenhout Avenue and Northumberland Road | Northriding, Johannesburg | GPS: 26 03’48.39”S / 27 56’35.54”E

 

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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