Broadcastpro – Page 2 – Future of Sports Broadcasting Summit | 8-9 Mar 2023 | Online

August 31, 2022 fsbsummit0

Pixoul Gaming, the virtual reality (VR) and Esports hub, will open later this year at Al Qana in Abu Dhabi. It is expected to open in the next few months, but an exact date has not yet been announced.

Pixoul Gaming will be launching the esports academy in the Middle East and will host global gaming tournaments in its 800-seat capacity arena. The academy also includes an Esports bar, a gaming community twist on a typical sports bar.

Pixoul Gaming is an integrated, immersive entertainment destination through its elaborate Virtual Reality Gaming Zone. While the Esports Academy provides a focused training facility for serious gaming athletes.

With its array of VR, retro, console, mobile, and Esports games, Pixoul Gaming will also cater to the entire gaming ecosystem – from game development and education to immersive experiences, from professional solo, multi-player and team gaming to hosting global gaming festivals. Esports is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Mena region. The UAE’s digital gaming sector is estimated to reach $930m by 2025, and Pixoul Gaming will highlight Abu Dhabi as the global leader in Esports, broadcasting to millions of fans.

Paul Hamilton, General Manager at Pixoul Gaming, said” “As an integrated, immersive entertainment destination with the region’s first Esports Academy, Pixoul Gaming has the potential to redefine the modern gaming experience. We believe that everyone should be a gamer today as Esports fosters creativity, encourages problem-solving, and builds leadership skills. So, we designed Pixoul Gaming to offer a new world of digital amusement and showcase Abu Dhabi as a global leader in Esports and digital entertainment.”

Hamilton added: “The goal is to bring serious gaming into the Middle East, to train professionals at our Academy to compete on a global level while also hosting the international tournaments in our elite coliseum of gaming where the biggest, best gamers on the planet will perform to a live audience of 800+, watched by millions across the world.

“The venue is almost complete, and we’ll be ready to welcome gamers by Q4 of 2022. We are working with the leading international experts and technology partners such as Robocom VR to offer our guests the latest and the best experience.”

Pixoul Planet VR will offer 10 virtual and augmented reality games, in partnership with Robocom VR, that range from first-person shooters to roller coasters, paragliding and escape rooms. They will last between six and 10 minutes and feature the region’s first fully wireless headsets in an open-world cross-platform metaverse.

Karim Ibrahim, Co-founder of Pixoul Gaming and CEO of Robocom VR, commented: “As technology partners and creators of this custom-built VR mission, we are excited to take gamers on an unprecedented adventure across cinematic and interactive experiences. At Robocom VR, our mission is to innovate the static gaming experience, inviting users to a portal into new dimensions of gaming and take control over their destiny while fully immersed in Virtual Reality Entertainment.

“At Pixoul Gaming, we have introduced the region’s first fully wireless headsets in an open-world cross-platform metaverse. With no unnecessary cables or heavy backpacks, the HTC Focus 3 headsets are fully synced with 4D and motion platform simulators to blur virtual reality’s boundaries ultimately. Across these ten integrated experiences, each lasting six to10 minutes, there is a never before seen journey of flight & racing simulators, escape rooms, shooting games, paragliding, and rollercoasters – promising to push the boundaries of human imagination and set new standards of interactive and immersive entertainment.”

As the flagship experience, the Pixoul Planet VR houses 10 different virtual and augmented reality games, including everything from shooters, and virtual roller coasters, to guided spaceship tours of the new intergalactic planet, Pixoul.

At the first Esports Academy in the Middle East, coaches will be able to train individual gamers and teams, offering tips on how to improve their skills. It will also invite champion professional gamers to hold one-on-one training sessions with students.

The Dean of the Academy will oversee the teaching schedule and certifications and ensure that consumers are empowered with the tools and knowledge to play responsibly.

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August 26, 2022 fsbsummit0

Zain KSA and Zain Group have partnered with global gaming platform Playhera to launch its new regional esports platform Playhera MENA to target the Middle East’s markets.

Headquartered in Saudi Arabia, Playhera MENA aims to create a suitable environment for innovators, content creators and esports amateurs, besides fostering the capabilities of professional gamers.

Targeting the region’s lucrative market of an estimated 100m gamers, Playhera MENA will incorporate new gaming services such as cloud games backed by Zain KSA’s 5G infrastructure to attract digital entertainment stakeholders.

Commenting on the partnership, Eng. Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Deghaither, CEO of Zain KSA, said: “We are proud that Saudi Arabia is home to Playhera MENA esports hub as it enhances the Kingdom’s capacity to incorporate fast-growing and lucrative digital services and boost the Saudi economy in line with Saudi Vision 2030.  We are committed to promoting the growth of an ecosystem that supports the development of gaming platforms hence unlocking the countless opportunities that will arise for all stakeholders in this field. We look forward to driving growth in the gaming market in the region and at the same time, we are certain that Playhera MENA will raise the level of the services in this sector that caters to a large segment of users and businesses. The same goes for the Kingdom’s expanding gaming market which currently hosts over 19.8m gamers and posts a significant annual growth of up to 22% and a market value of SAR 2.6bn ($692m).”

Naif Mulaeb, CEO of Playhera, added: “We are proud to be a Saudi-born brand that has gone global with a fast-growing partner like Zain KSA who share our same passion and enthusiasm toward digital entertainment.”

The launch of Playhera MENA will be celebrated by a regional PUBG mobile tournament later this year, expected to attract around 7,000 participants.

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August 16, 2022 fsbsummit0

Mastercard has signed a three-year agreement with Saudi Esports Federation as an official sponsor of Gamers8, the gaming and esports event.

Catering to Saudi Arabia’s thriving gaming community, Mastercard will curate a diverse range of activities for gamers.

The announcement underlines Mastercard’s commitment to delivering meaningful, one-of-a-kind experiences for consumers, gamers and gaming enthusiasts across the Kingdom. Organised by the Saudi Esports Federation, Gamers8, which runs daily until September 8 at Boulevard Riyadh City.

As part of the agreement, Mastercard will sponsor the event, hosting a selection of daily tournaments and experiences for gaming enthusiasts to participate in over the course of the esports showpiece.

Mastercard and SEF will collaborate on metaverse and augmented reality (AR) activations, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gamers’ and fans’ loyalty solutions, and a gaming virtual MasterCard card.

Gaming and esports consumption in Saudi Arabia is expected to reach $6.8bn by 2030, according to a recent report by Boston Consulting Group.

Speaking about the partnership, Ahmed Albishri, Chief Operating Officer at Saudi Esports Federation, said: “The Saudi Esports Federation was established to nurture the Kingdom’s elite gaming athletes and develop its gaming community and industry. Over the years, we have taken several important strides towards doing exactly that. Our partnership with Mastercard represents a significant and timely step forward, one that will not only help us keep pace with the rest of the world but propel us to the leading edge of gaming. Together with Mastercard, we look forward to delivering truly rewarding experiences and creating lasting memories for people across the country to revel in. This promises to be a game-changer for all players.”

Adam Jones, Country General Manager, MENA Central, Mastercard, added: “Gamers8 is shaping up as a truly unique and history-making event — one that showcases the Kingdom’s growth as a leading digital hub, and provides people access to a wholly immersive experience. We are delighted to be working with the Saudi Esports Federation and our network to deliver the greatest esports and gaming event ever. Mastercard is creating meaningful connections with consumers by tapping into their passions, and this passion-led approach enables us to engage with the gaming and esports communities in Priceless ways that will create lasting memories. Our goal is to fully realize the potential of Gamers8 as a unique event; one that invites people to embark on a journey of discovery, fuel their passions, build memories for a lifetime and start something priceless.”

As part of the agreement, a digital asset enablement project will be launched in the Kingdom, with Mastercard designing, developing, launching, and maintaining an augmented reality (AR) activation, along with its very own metaverse, in the coming years.

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June 29, 2022 fsbsummit0

Gamers8 has entered into an exclusive partnership with Spotify, who will be the official audio streaming partner for the brand new esports and gaming season in Riyadh taking place this summer.

Under this partnership, gamers and their fans will get specially curated audio inspired by the esports community.

Gamers8, from the creators of Gamers Without Borders, will be held in the Saudi capital from July 14 to September 8, with a total prize pool of $15m.

Gamers8 will have an official co-curated playlist by Spotify’s music team as well as lists by gaming professionals and celebrities. In addition, Spotify and Gamers8 will create and launch a podcast dedicated to the season in partnership with Rising Giants Network. The eight-episode series will be the go-to place for gaming enthusiasts to hear about the top players through game highlights and one-on-one interviews.

The partnership will also see the release of the highly anticipated Gamers8 anthem produced by DJ and producer R3HAB, featuring Saudi pop artist Meteb Alshalan. The song will be performed live during the opening ceremony celebrations.

Commenting on the partnership, Omar Batterjee, Head of Marketing, Communications, and Partnerships at Saudi Esports Federation, said: “Music and audio are an essential part of esports. We are thrilled to partner with Spotify to provide our fans with a one-stop destination where they can enjoy the ultimate curated content and iconic experiences. Together with Spotify, we can collectively combine esports, technology, entertainment, and music to inspire the gaming community, as well as the next generation of gamers and fans.”

Nicole Aoun, Spotify’s Marketing and Partnership Lead in Saudi Arabia added: “While at Spotify, we continue to be laser-focused on growing the creators’ community, we are equally as passionate about creating memorable experiences for the Saudi youth, demonstrating our commitment to the local community.

“The Saudi Esports Federation shares our vision of providing world-class entertainment for the gaming community, and we are thrilled to embark on this journey together, making Saudi gamers and fans connect meaningfully through music and podcasts.”

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June 28, 2022 fsbsummit0

Zain Bahrain has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bahrain Esports Federation and teamed up with Playhera to develop and grow the gaming and esports ecosystem in the kingdom.

The collaboration aims to support and explore esports enthusiasts and gamers through organising Esports championships and tournaments and exploring the potential of esports in the Kingdom, which comes as part of Zain Bahrain’s future roadmap to grow the gaming community.

With the support of both entities, Zain Bahrain will organise and launch the first-ranked Esports summer championship in the Kingdom, which will give the community another opportunity to engage in Esports. The championship will soon be announced and will be open for all gamers over 13 years.

Speaking about the cooperation, Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Zain Bahrain Director of Communications & Investor Relations, said: “Esports continues to grow dramatically in popularity and participation, particularly amongst young people, and the Middle East is one of the fastest-growing gaming regions in the world, and Zain Bahrain aims to explore and create opportunities for the Esports enthusiasts and gamers to participate in a team environment like traditional sport with all the benefits. We hope to play a major regional role as an enabler of esports, to grow the gaming ecosystem collectively, and give gamers the support and recognition they deserve to compete globally.”

He added: “The collaboration with Bahrain Esports Federation and Playhera will play an important role in discovering and supporting new local gaming talents, organizing Esports Championships, and building a vibrant gaming scene, reflecting 2030 vision towards improving youth skills.”

Hussain AlKooheji, President of Bahrain Esports Federation, stated: “We are proud to partner with Zain Bahrain to provide more opportunities to local gamers and Esports enthusiasts and to build and expedite the growth of Esports in the Kingdom. We look forward to launching the first-ranked Esports summer championship in the Kingdom.”

Naif Mulaeb, Chairman & CEO of Playhera MENA, commented: “Throughout our collaboration with Zain Bahrain, we will be able to leverage our technology, expertise, and market knowledge to ensure that a national-level Esports team in Bahrain are properly built from the grounds up. We wish to be the partner that Zain Bahrain relies on when dealing with Federations, teams, influencers, and other entities, and we will carry such burdens off your shoulders because it is our bread and butter.”

Zain Bahrain has also recently signed a three-year partnership with Bahrain Schools and Collegiate Athletics Association (BSCAA) to build Esports’s ecosystem and advocate its values across the Kingdom. The partnership aims to support Zain Bahrain in hosting online and physical Esport events for school students across the Kingdom, including organising boot camps, tournaments, and championships that will foster the growth and upskilling of gaming talents, as well as further developing their cognitive skills.

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June 9, 2022 fsbsummit0

Esports Management Group, an esports and entertainment management company, will organise EMG 2022, the gaming and entertainment festival in Dubai.

EMG 2022 will be held at the Dubai World Trade Center and will feature a vast range of gamer culture activities, including esports tournaments, celebrity guests, friendly competitions, anime music shows, cosplay shows, and more.

The festival will take place on June 10 and 11, and features the official Global Esports Tour (GET) CS:GO LAN tournament with a grand prize pool of $250,000.

Abdulla Al Gurg, Founder of EMG and Vice President of Emirates Esports Federation, said: “We are delighted to bring the GET CS:GO Tournament to Dubai as part of the EMG 2022 Festival. It is a milestone in Dubai’s journey to becoming a global esports destination, and we are very excited to be hosting such an outstanding line-up of professional esports talents and outstanding gamer entertainment. This is the first edition of EMG, and we look forward to celebrating and bringing together esports, gaming and anime fans in the UAE annually for years to come.”

The esports action will kick off virtually on June 9, with eight professional esport teams from around the world competing in the quarter-finals of GET Dubai CS:GO Tournament. Teams include Ninjas in Pajamas, Mouz, NASR ESPORTS, Falcons, Complexity, OG, Tyloo and Movistar Ride. Esports fans will be able to follow the tournament via EMG’s official Twitch and YouTube channels.

EMG 2022 officially opens on June 10 and will host thousands of audiences till June 11, welcoming everyone to witness the high octane semifinals and the grand finals of the GET CS:GO Tournament. In addition to the tournament, there will be other video game competitions across several venues for games including League of LegendsValorant, Call of DutyFortniteFifaTekken 7 and VR games.

Meanwhile, cosplayers will be able to participate in a contest with a prize pool of $10,000. Also in attendance will be Japanese pianist Animez and Japanese singer Akeboshi, who will perform and be part of a meet-and-greet.

Attendees will also be able to enjoy the performances by famous Japanese pianist Animez and Japanese singer Akeboshi. The two-day festival will include meet-n-greets with Animenz, Akeboshi, and the esports teams, as well as some of the most popular influencers, including but not limited to MSDossary, Ahmed Ben Chaibah, TM Faisal, Bo3omar, SirSAN, Mark Tube, Kakashi Gaming, Hope Rima, and more.

Completing the EMG 2022 line-up will be a wide selection of official merchandise stores from top gaming teams and players. EMG 2022 tickets are now available to purchase on Platinumlist.

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January 31, 2022 fsbsummit0

Hope Ventures, the Bahraini investment arm of Hope Fund, an initiative established by the directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, has announced the launch of Beban, an unscripted entrepreneurial reality TV show for MENA audiences. Beban, which means doors in Arabic, signifies the various doors of opportunity that open in real life.

The show features un-staged, recorded pitching sessions by ambitious Bahraini entrepreneurs to a panel of four Bahraini and Saudi investors. Over USD 1m dollars was invested in participating start-ups during the show, which features businesses operating across the sectors of Technology, Food &Beverage, Manufacturing, and Sports Retail.

In well-crafted post-production artistry, the show captures the participants’ emotions and reactions when faced with difficult on-the-spot life-altering decisions. Business founders are given a unique opportunity to secure funding that will drive their business towards international scalability. Viewers of the show will be inspired by a surprise ending in every episode, where founders walk away with some form of investment or a considerable perk aimed at accelerating the growth of their business.

Commenting on the launch, Fajer Al Pachachi, General Manager of Hope Ventures, said: “After months of preparation and hard work, we are pleased to announce the launch of Beban. The show promo has already received more than 2000 organic shares within the first few hours of its release on social media. We’re now prepping for season 2, which will feature more businesses across diverse sectors, with more investors from across the region, and more inspiring entrepreneurs and more episodes.”

Beban is directed by Bahraini award-winning Film Director Hashim Sharaf and distributed by HConsult, a Dubai-based Content Market & Distribution Consultancy. The four-episode programme is licensed for exclusive streaming on MBC Group’s AVOD platform Shahid and is scheduled for a weekly release in February starting the evening of February 2, 2022, in line with its release on Bahrain TV.


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January 31, 2022 fsbsummit0

Mobile connectivity continues to evolve at a rapid pace. A little over a decade since the introduction of 4G, 5G is now showing promise as its uptake expands. It brings the potential of increased bandwidth throughput and lower latency, allowing telecom operators, broadcasters and content providers to expand video services, improve viewer experience and diversify product offerings. While higher-quality video streaming and immersive audio are an exciting prospect, understanding the wide range of potential future applications will be crucial to leveraging the opportunities.

Built on better bandwidth

The increased bandwidth capability of this new technology is key to understanding the foundation of what 5G can provide to both mobile operators and broadcasters. With one gigabit per second streaming made possible, organisations are better able to provide 4K streams on top of existing HD streams and even pave the way for 8K resolution, creating an enhanced viewer experience. For audio, new innovations such as MPEG-H and AC4 with Dolby Atmos rendering capabilities become possible, meaning support for multiple simultaneous channels and spatial sound effect rendering, even on stereo sound systems.

The edge opportunity

5G also enables multi-access edge computing (MEC), and this is where the possibilities really expand for video services. Storage and processing capabilities can be pushed further down the network and used in smaller data centres or other infrastructure, spread out closer to the viewers.

For example, MEC enables user-specific content to be inserted just before it reaches viewers, making it possible to distribute different content to different users. One obvious application of this is dynamic ad insertion (DAI), where advertisements are targeted to specific viewers, enhancing their value to advertisers and increasing monetisation opportunities.

Beyond that, and using the same technology, personalised channels can be tailored to specific viewers’ tastes, increasing their value and making them more viable as a premium service.

Making future technology a present reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have so far been underused in the industry, with limited end-user uptake of existing VR technology and the real-time processing capabilities needed for AR. 5G could be transformative in bringing about widespread adoption of this technology, as the subsequent increase in video quality is likely to encourage a greater number of users to invest in headsets.

In the context of AR, imagine that the localised infrastructure in an edge set-up is in a sports stadium, for example. With the high bandwidth and low latency brought about by 5G, sports fans will be able to use their mobile devices to directly view different live camera angles, with AR capabilities allowing real-time player statistics such as passes completed or goals scored in a soccer match. This will serve to enhance the live experience for fans attending events.

And with lower latency, whether you are in the stadium or watching the event from your home, it also opens up possibilities for a much richer user experience, linking the content you watch with social media, retail and your community, and providing the interactivity and responsiveness that viewers are used to in these other platforms.

Elastic CDN, open caching and public cloud

The possibilities brought by 5G and the edge fit in nicely with the opportunities enabled by an elastic content delivery network (CDN), which can expand and shrink as required to meet fluctuating demands. This helps to maintain a high-quality viewing experience even during peak traffic, by quickly adding extra cache nodes to meet the temporary demand and then removing them instantly once that demand is over. This greater flexibility eliminates the need for building overcapacity, helping to achieve cost and energy savings.

Based on a distributed, cloud-native architecture, an elastic CDN also enables orchestration of various functions to use CDN infrastructure for other tasks at off-peak times – for example, for file transcoding of ads or VOD content, to create a library of assets for delivering personalized video experiences. Combining elastic CDN principles with open caching will enable telecom operators to lease their CDN to content providers or broadcasters, resulting in greatly improved quality of experience for video services as the content is cached closer to the viewers.

Public clouds are also pushing their virtualisation environments in the 5G network, taking advantage of the MEC infrastructure. Telecom operators and content providers can benefit from this by using the same software technologies in the cloud and in the 5G network, making it easier to handle global operations and deploy new services quickly.

Future potential

The benefits of 5G are as much about the technologies it will help to support as the advantages it will bring to the user experience. While it provides promise to the broadcast industry, whether it is used to its full potential will depend on the relationship between broadcasters and telecom operators moving forward, as it’s not yet clear whether a shared broadcast infrastructure can be put in place. As a result, it’s likely that the broadcasters and wider industry will be keeping a close eye on the 5G landscape in the coming months.

Alexandre Arnodin is VP of Video Delivery Solutions at ATEME.

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January 31, 2022 fsbsummit0

NASA has selected 12 companies to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions.

NASA selected ABL Space Systems, Astra Space, Blue Origin, L2 Solutions, Northrop Grumman Systems, Phantom Space, Relativity Space, Rocket Lab USA, Spaceflight, SpaceX, United Launch Services, and Virgin Orbit.

The fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts have a five-year ordering period with a maximum total value of $300m across all contracts. The acquisition also includes a special on-ramp provision to enable additional providers and incumbents to submit proposals introducing launch services for new capabilities not available or identified at the time of the initial contract award.

Bradley Smith, Director of Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: “We are incredibly excited to announce the awardees for VADR from a broad range of established and emerging launch providers and launch service aggregators and brokers. This speaks to our expertise in understanding the launch market as we crafted VADR to maximise our efforts in enabling a growing US launch industry. With this new tool in our toolbox, these tremendously flexible contracts will meet a wide variety of NASA science and technology needs, further enhancing the agency’s Launch Services Programme’s reputation as Earth’s bridge to space.”

The VADR contract will provide a broad range of Federal Aviation Administration-licensed commercial launch services capable of delivering payloads ranging from CubeSats to Class D missions to a variety of orbits. These small satellites and Class D payloads tolerate relatively high risk and serve as an ideal platform for technical and architecture innovation, contributing to NASA’s science research and technology development.

The VADR acquisition builds on previous procurement efforts such as the Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) and VCLS Demo 2 contracts, which are fostering the development of new, small launch vehicles for NASA payloads.

Firm-fixed-price task orders will be issued to provide the launch services under these contracts for NASA and NASA-sponsored missions. Launches under the VADR contract will align with commercial practices, using less NASA oversight to achieve lower launch costs.

NASA’s Launch Services Programme at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the VADR contracts. The agency works with private industry, mission, and international partners to launch science payloads ranging from small satellites with colleges and universities to NASA’s highest priority missions.

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