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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

 

Arts and Entertainment

VoD cuts the cord in SA

Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.

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That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.

The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.

Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.

Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”

The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.

“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”

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New data rules raise business trust challenges

When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

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The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.

GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.

The fundamentals of trust

GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.

The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.

This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.

What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.

The risk of compliance

Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.

A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.

A three-step plan of action

So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:

Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.

Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.

Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.

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