The benefit of the broadband revolution, then, is that it allows anyone to get involved in multi-player gaming. The downside is that it allows anyone to get involved in multi-player gaming. General consensus in the office is that online gaming has got a lot of problems these days, mainly based on the inherently open nature of the Internet.
The major issue we all have considerable hatred for is the prevalence of cheats or hacks in online gaming. Counter-Strike servers, for example, seem to be riddled with hackers, for all Valve does to combat the problem - but maybe thatâ€™s the price of being the most popular online game ever made.
The point Iâ€™m trying to get across is that after three or four years, the more mature gaming audience is starting to cry out for everything the LAN centre used to offer, so that perhaps another culture change is needed. The time has come to enter the era of social gaming 2.0.
It is with this mentality that Omega Sektor has chosen to set up station in the UK, aiming to bring the LAN Centre back to the forefront of Britainâ€™s social gaming scene with its newly opened Birmingham base of operations, the launch party of which I attended on Thursday.
If you agree with the mantra that first impressions are everything, then Omega Sektor certainly makes one. Greeting us outside Birmingham station, the branded stretch Humvee, complete with champagne, strobe lighting and lasers, may have disappointed onlookers when a bunch of dorky tech journalists climbed out rather than any celebrity, but it pleased us no end.
Walking into the main foyer, the atmosphere definitely doesnâ€™t conform to the LAN centre stereotype. To quote Adrian Le Mans, UK Sales and Marketing Director, â€œWe didnâ€™t set a budget when we were building the centre, we did what we wanted how we wanted and paid the bill.â€ The first area you walk into is dubbed the Family Sektor, which is intended to bring every generation of gamers together in one environment.
A lot of care has been taken to ensure that children are given the level of protection and supervision any responsible parent would require. Aside from restrictions on the games that can be played based on age and parent instruction, additional checks are in place to alert staff if a child is, for example, using their account during school hours or has been playing too long (based on parents requests), which will prompt staff members to phone and alert parents to what their offspring are doing.
Of course while we applaud bringing the gaming experience to a wider audience, in our hearts we all know what LAN gaming is really about, and thatâ€™s running around shooting people, virtually of course. On that level, Omega Sektor certainly doesn't disappoint.