Immersive technology at the center of the world’s largest virtual gaming arena

It’s a dialogue between architecture, technology and leisure. The city of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia will now have an innovative facility, called the Qiddiya City Esports Arena, which will integrate the largest area of video screens of any virtual gaming arena in the world, as well as 4D immersive technologies. 

The new arena aims to become the centrepiece of the “world’s first mixed-use gaming and esports district”. The design is by Populous, which has created a distinctive architectural identity for the 5,155-seat multifunctional space, made up of six conical volumes surrounded by neon lights. The new district, part of Saudi Vision 2030, has plans to house four venues dedicated to the games, with the expectation of attracting up to 10 million visitors a year.

Immersive technologies are integrated throughout the arena, seeking to create enchanting fantasy worlds for fans. Large screens, combined with 4D haptic seating, allow visitors to feel, perceive and even smell the action, while advanced audio and video systems contribute to the overall experience and strengthen the city’s “Play Life” ethos. Studies informed the optimal seating arrangement in the main auditorium, while parametric design tools were used to define the screen locations. The result is a “digital chandelier” positioned in the middle of the seating area.

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