Fig: 1 - Gaming market gained traction with hand controllers that allowed player comfort of play.
Digitisation has changed the landscape of our world, by creating a parallel plane of virtual reality. While its contributions in shaping the world and society have been immense, it has offered the gift of digital gaming to the realm of recreation.
Open world games have standards that were set by Grand Theft Auto III in 2001 and have been evolving at a promising pace. The player gets to experience a whole simulation of the world rather than confining them in a small (virtual) space.
To classify a game as open world, the autonomy of the player in the game and the extent it is able to push, to give its users freedom, is what matters. Games also differ in the ways they provide this freedom, as customisation of every attribute of a game is important to ensure good quality.
Gaming technologies have advanced today, in terms of their concept, presentation, and hardware, but the current spaces that accommodate these gamers and their equipment require an upgrade.
How can the designers help in making the gaming arena as relevant to gamers as possible?
Fig: 2 - Virtual Reality technology has changed the way gaming is enacted now.
The inception of open-world games came with the need to provide the players a degree of individualism to their roles. But this freedom is only available on a virtual plane of interface, when in reality, they were inevitably tied down to a chair.
Virtual Reality (VR/AR) technology has helped the industry make quantum leaps, by enabling hyper-realistic gaming experiences. They have creatively challenged our previous conceptions about open-world games and other online experiences.
As the intensity of gaming has surged, it has become a sport, played by esports athletes (players) and witnessed by crowds of spectators, online and offline. The competition is viewed in real-time venues, along with events and activities hosted to bring the gaming fraternity together.
The facet of gaming that is currently backlogging, is the ability of players to convene at a place and enjoy their experience in a conducive environment. Most of the gaming conventions and markets do not have dedicated spaces to conduct their events. Designing spaces curated for such events is the next step in the gaming world.
Fig: 3 - Gaming is a social activity played in groups and at events like conventions.
Challenge - Design a modern gaming arena where gamers can convene for competitions and casual gaming bouts.
The facility is mainly focusing on digital gaming sets and activities, allowing multiple gamers to gather in groups and enjoy their sessions. Basic amenities such as snacking counters, lounging, and other recreational facilities must be included to provide a better gaming experience.
The spatial organisation and material palette of the facility must be suited to gamers and spectators. The centre must have a flexible design to accommodate attractions and fairs temporarily, along with a regular set up for daily gamers. The occupancy of the centre will also change with this.
The spaces must predominantly be oriented to fit in the different types of open-world games, with a variety of user interfaces. The designer has the freedom of imagination for the ambiance, providing functionality and feasibility in design for the next couple of decades.
Concept - the design of the arena must be focused on the player and the word of digital gaming.
Flexibility - the focus must be to deliver a convenient environment for the players and audience for use of all services in the facility. The centre will transform for all types and natures of events.
Amenities - the requirements of all groups of users must be fulfilled with amenities that are accessible to all visitors of the centre.
Upgradable - Design must envision how technology would evolve in the next ten years.
The Middle East has more than 100 million gamers in cities of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The UAE has a large gaming market and is investing in infrastructure - both virtual and physical, to take advantage of the revenue potential.
The site is located in Dubai. The city plans on becoming the regional and global hub for hosting gaming events by investing in esports venues and so on. This gaming ecosystem will offer opportunities for engagement to amateurs, professionals, creators, and spectators.
The site is located right by an open sports arena and various other residential communities. It is located close to the city’s hotspots, schools, and other institutions. A typology such as this, with a futuristic approach to gaming, would be an optimal addition here.
Site area- 5010 sqm
Ground coverage- 30%
Height restrictions- 15m
Coordinates - 25°01'57.7"N 55°13'39.6"E
Spaces to watch (Esports competition arena for 100 spectators)
Spaces to relax (Lounge, Food court)
Spaces to play (Private rooms for small tournaments, Gaming arcade)
Spaces to learn - Offices for startups (content creators), esports academy
Offices and circulation