I was quickly grabbed up by a PR agent and given a full tour of the building, which spans two floors and over 22,000 Sq Ft.
Downstairs is home to the previously mentioned entrance hall and first gaming area, but in a side room there is also the VIP room that has two tiers within it. The first tier holds around twenty more PCs, all identical to the other machines in the room and a series of five massive screens which are mounted on the wall. The screens were currently running a looping demo of something Final Fantasy
related, but they existed primarily for tournaments when each screen could be set to display from a single PC for spectators to follow a match on.
The VIP area also had leather-lined alcoves dotted along the walls for spectators to sit in and ‘sup on drinks from the mini-bar, which helped to accentuate the high-class feel of the entire venue. The VIP area was also made more appealing because it’s the only area of the entire building which isn’t oppressively black and the cream coloured leather goes very well with the wooden partition that separates the VIPs from the riff-raff.
Now, this is where I got a little bit sneaky and reckless – something bought on no doubt either by the champagne or fishy canapés on offer.
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Darting up a flight of stairs into the second tier of the VIP area, I spotted a spare PC and I hopped on to have a look at it. In an unusual step for me, I closed down the game of Call of Duty 2
multiplayer that was running and had a look at the PC set up.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420, 2.13GHz
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB
2GB of DDR2-667 MHz
Creative Soundblaster X-Fi
Intel 82566DC Gigabit connection
20Mbps, boostable to 30Mbps
Razer Tarantula, Custom Razer Deathadder, Creative HS 900 headset
I also had a scout around under the table itself, which got me more than a few odd glances from the non-techie onlookers. I discovered that each PC is a CoolerMaster Centurion 532
with a ventilated steel cage over boxing it in securely. Each cage is then securely fastened to the table so that gamers cannot actually reach the PC inside without help from staff – an obvious attempt to help circumvent hardware hacks and theft.
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Hacking was one of the foremost things on my mind and, as I ventured upstairs into the sponsored rooms, I grabbed an assistant called Steve. Steve is the man responsible for training all the new staff members at Omega Sektor – a process that takes two to three weeks. Steve explained that the staff are encouraged to play alongside customers and are trained to spot hackers and cheaters who try to get around the anti-cheat systems in use.
“Most of the staff come from customer service backgrounds, but nearly all are keen gamers. We train them anyway in the different genres and things like how to change controls and fix certain issues in every game we have,”
Steve told me, taking a break from fixing a Xbox 360 in the 360 room.
“We have 400 PCs, 20 or so 360s, 2 PS3s and a single Wii. It’s what we think people want, but we do have plans to get more consoles,”
said Steve, gazing around as an adhoc Pro Evolution Soccer
tournament kicked off. He confided that the 360s in use at the moment were only temporary and that soon Omega Sektor would switch to only using 360 Elites.
Why? “Black looks better,”
he told me, without smiling.