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PES 2015 champs head to Berlin for the real thing

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The best PES 2015 players from around the world are set to gather at the UEFA Champions Festival in Berlin for the grand final of the PES World Finals. The tournament will kick off a few hours ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final on 6 June at the Olympiastadion.

Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. has announced that the best PES 2015 players from around the globe will gather at the UEFA Champions Festival, in front of Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, as the grand final of the PES World Finals is held mere hours before the UEFA Champions League Final on 6 June.

The Berlin venue marks the perfect location for the culmination of the PES 2015 season. Konami enjoys a strong relationship with UEFA, via its exclusive use of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competitions within the series. The city’s Olympiastadion will then play host to the actual UEFA Champions League Final, as club football’s most illustrious competition reaches its climax.

Konami has secured a special area within the PlayStation event space at the UEFA Champions Festival where the top players from around the world, including competitors from Italy, Germany, France, the UK, Spain, LATAM and Asia will convene to take part in initial group stages and then knock-out rounds using the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Each entrant has won their local official PES league and will head to Berlin with an eye on emerging victorious in what is certain to be a hard-fought competition. A constant stream of results will be reported live via the Official PES League Twitter account (@PESLeagueUK) and official PES Twitter account (@officialpes) while certain matches, including the Grand Final, will be streamed live via the PES League Twitch Channel (www.twitch.tv/pesleague).

The tournament will begin at 9am CEST (8am BST), with the final set to take place at approximately 3pm CEST (2pm BST). The winner will be crowned 2015 PES World Finals Champion, and will receive a stunning prize package that includes tickets to that evening’s match and a share of over €20,000 worth of cash prizes. Moreover, the event will see the winners battling it out in a match taking place on the edge of the pitch that will play host to the actual UEFA Champions League Final that night, an absolute first for the PES World Finals and its entrants.

The tournament is an integral part of the annual UEFA Champions Festival, a four-day event that celebrates all that is great about football. The Festival runs over the weekend of the UEFA Champions League Final and gives the public a wide range of free activities and exhibitions, alongside interactive sponsor activations. PES 2015 will be heavily featured within the PlayStation area, with pods allowing visitors to experience the dedicated UEFA Champions League mode the game offers.

“This is it: the big one. The culmination of a full year of over 13 million online and offline matches as the world’s greatest PES 2015 players gather to find the absolute champion,” said Erik Bladinieres, European Brand Director of Football. “And what better venue to host such a special event than Olympiastadion Berlin – ahead of the actual UEFA Champions League Final! This perfectly illustrates our close ties with football’s greatest club competition and we look forward to a hard-fought and exciting tournament – with the winner then heading to watch the actual Final as part of their prize.”

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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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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Gaming rages on in SA

The rAge gaming expo this past weekend pointed the way to a booming computer games industry in South Africa, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the first of a two-part series. (All pics by Arthur Goldstuck)

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Predator. Omen. Alienware. They all sounds dangerous. The names suggest threat and even fear. And so they should. 

They are the high-end gaming brands of computer manufacturers Acer, HP and Dell, respectively. Acer adds an explosive edge with its Nitro range.

The names tell you that the user is not going into computer-based combat casually. This gamer wants to win, and will pay the price of premium hardware to do so.

This impulse lies at the heart of the exploding computer games industry globally. Valued at $157-billion, the sector dwarfs the music industry. In South Africa, according to Make Games South Africa chairperson Nick Hall, it is a R225-million business, growing at an average of 75% a year since 2013.

“The game development sector in South Africa has really gone from strength to strength, across all key segments in the sector,” he says. “Our indies are regularly releasing titles to global success, our services sector has made massive inroads into doing work for some of the largest  publishers in the world and our serious games sector is producing world leading products.”

Many of these independent games creators were manning stands at the rAge expo at the Dome north of Johannesburg this past weekend. Celestial Games, which produced South Africa’s first commercial computer game, Toxic Bunny, in 1996,  unveiled its latest innovation: a mobile gaming platform called Table Realms, which turns any handset into a gaming console or screen. 

The buzz around its stand was palpable, and a far cry from previous years when Celestial and other games developers battled for attention. At rAge, names like Curve, Codex Knights, Loot Defence, Nektaar, Akromah’s Tale, and Echoplex all had clusters of prospective players around their booths.

The Xbox stand was a major attraction at rAge.

Continue reading to find out how locally developed games target international markets.

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