Coming to a conclusion about the Omega Sektor LAN gaming centre was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.
As I’ve mentioned already, my previous experiences of LAN gaming have left it with a somewhat ugly, clumsy and seedy flavour in my mouth. There was always too much fiddling with cables and OS versions and, yes, owl droppings. Nobody could ever settle on a game to play and there was always too few or too many players to get anything really good going.
Omega Sektor has successfully done away with all that.
The experience that Omega Sektor offers to gamers is one of pure, simple fun. You turn up, register and pay a few pounds (£3 an hour, £5 for three hours) and then are let loose on the other side of the turnstile to find a PC or console you want to game with. There’s a massive selection of games, with an option to bring some of your own along, so it isn’t hard to set up a quick fragfest – and even if it is then there are singleplayer games to tide you over.
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However, whether Omega Sektor will be financially secure and successful is a little more complicated. It would involve convincing customers to trek across Birmingham and the country to come and play here for a long time. Long enough to make £4 million back, at least.
Before I was ferried back into the Omega Sektor hummer by the Omega girls, I ducked aside to grab a word with some guys and gals who were playing on the PCs downstairs. We were pretty much all alone because everyone had gone upstairs to watch the Guitar Hero II
Journalist Showdown, which I had snuck away from in order to get some quiet interview time.
Of the three gamers I was faced with, two were playing a game of GRAW 2
. I’ve had a fair bit of experience with GRAW 2
myself, including being walked through it by the fine folks at Ageia
I spent a good ten or twenty minutes talking to these potential customers and the one thing that I found most amazing was that they all believed the games were running on maximum settings, despite the fact that I later showed them it was default settings and that the PC prevented you from pushing the texture detail to high.
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Still, I pushed the topic forwards and asked them if they would be willing to pay for time in the centre. The answer was a unanimous yes, despite the fact that none of them knew how the centre was to be priced. When I outlined the pricing plan to them, they accepted it as perfectly reasonable given the quality of the hardware and selection of games and services.
Herded back into the Omega Sektor-mobile and sent back towards the train station, I was no longer struggling with my conclusions. Omega Sektor had successfully won me over and it wasn’t because of the fancy cars and flowing wine either. Omega Sektor struck a chord with me, making me enthusiastic about competitive gaming again and bringing back the old adrenaline rush which only LAN gaming can deliver. Couple that buzz with the reasonable prices and the backing of companies like Intel and Scan Computers
, it’s hard to deny that Omega Sektor is set to be the hub for professional and competitive gaming in the UK.
It is, to use Piggie’s words, on the right path to becoming the Wembley Stadium of PC gaming, which is something all gamers should welcome with open arms and wide smiles.