Startup of the Week: Exploring the reality of a virtual world

Saudi Arabia is making headway in the field of science and technology. (Supplied)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Startup of the Week: Exploring the reality of a virtual world

  • Saudi Arabia is also making headway in the field of science and technology

JEDDAH: Not very long ago, the concept of virtual reality (VR) used to excite us in Hollywood’s sci-fi flicks depicting the human future. Flying cars, holograms and robot workers appeared to be a figment of human imagination.
Who would have thought that within a short span, we would enter an era where such movie stuff would become part of our lives. Lo and behold, there is more to come. I am not sure about flying saucers but passenger drones will soon become a new normal within our lifetime.
Saudi Arabia is also making headway in the field of science and technology. Those who wish to experience VR adventures or play retro arcade games should visit “Teen Town Toys.”
It is a place that offers fun-filled activities for people of all ages. It offers a variety of VR adventures such as horseback riding, car-racing simulators, multiplayer competitive games and much more.
Adults can walk down memory lane in the arcade as it also offers 80s retro arcade games such as Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario games. The younger generation can also get a taste of the past by exploring these retro gems.
Teen Town Toys was established in June 2018 by Ehab Abdul Raouf Khalil, a successful Saudi businessman in his 40s. He combined his passion for entertainment and technology together and founded the arcade.
“It is equipped with the latest and most advanced gaming experiences in the global market,” Wed Khalid, the CEO of Teen Town Toys, told Arab News.
“Adding his unique taste of humor, he created Afo, Ura, Iska and Kura as characters that engage with our audience and guide them through the different types of VR experiences,” she added.
Each of these characters is classifications for the games, with Afo being exciting VR adventures, Ura being action-packed VR experiences, Iska being extreme kiddie rides and Kura being 80s retro arcade games.
The CEO said their VR games are the first of their kind in the Kingdom. They include Oculus Rift (a gold standard in virtual reality head-mounted displays), HTC Vive (the leading VR headset and controller combo on the market today), Treadmills and Haptic Gloves (this technology serves to further improve the levels of immersion as the user enters the virtual environment).
Some of the games Teen Town Toys provides are as follows:
1. Overtake VR: The elite challenge in VR (car racing).
2. Virtuix Omni Treadmill: Ideal for allowing its user to take the VR experience to another level. They can safely walk, run in 360-degrees, exploring simulated worlds and exercising at the same time.
3. Xtreme: This VR simulator guarantees an outburst of emotions and a rush of adrenaline, she explained.
Their most popular VR games are Overtake and Rifter, as well as space invaders.
“Teen Town Toys promises you experiences, possibilities, worlds that are almost impossible in the real world, you will want to spend the whole day in,” she claimed.
They are located at the King Abdullah intersection with Khalid ibn Al-Waleed Road, in Jeddah. The arcade opens daily from 4:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Visit their Instagram page (@teentowntoys) for more information.


Top five trends shaping KSA retail industry

Saudis visit the International Coffee and Chocolate Exhibition held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in the capital Riyadh on December 4, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 16 min 33 sec ago
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Top five trends shaping KSA retail industry

  • Artificial intelligence can identify consumer preferences with great accuracy

RIYADH: The Kingdom has a vast, young, tech-savvy population that is shifting behavior in Saudi Arabia, according to Ahmed Reda, MENA consumer industry leader for Ernst and Young (EY).
EY worked with more than 200 business leaders, futurists and industry experts through its FutureConsumer.Now program (FCN) to map the buying habits of consumers. “We asked questions such as how will consumers shop, eat, stay healthy, live, use technology, play, work and move in the future?” Reda said.
Here are some of the key trends powering the shift in consumer behavior and the retail industry in the GCC’s largest consumer base.
Data analytics and AI transforming traditional retail models: The new breed of GCC consumer expects a highly personalized experience. This will be even more critical as brand loyalty declines among GCC consumers. As analytics tools become increasingly sophisticated, the value of personalized data will grow. Artificial intelligence can identify consumer preferences with great accuracy.
Brands need to implement omnichannel strategies: In markets such as Saudi Arabia, which has some of the most affluent consumers, omnichannel strategies (any time, any place) are vital for companies to craft a user experience that cuts across online shopping, social media, mobile apps and conventional stores.
Physical stores still have a place: Online shopping has reduced the need for people to visit shops. Physical stores will still be a powerful asset if they are used for more than shopping. Retailers have a portfolio of well-located spaces that can be repurposed.
Rise of e-commerce: Physical stores won’t disappear, but the high penetration of smartphones and digital services has transformed the behavior of GCC consumers.
Value-seeking behavior after VAT: In a market that has been tax-free, the introduction of VAT, even at a relatively low rate of 5 percent, has caused a shift in consumer behavior. The average Saudi consumer is more cost-conscious than ever. Companies that can tap into additional value through economies of scale, or provide greater convenience, will reap the rewards.