Princess Reema: Investment will take Saudi eSports to next level

Saudi Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud speaks during the FII conference in Riyadh on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2018
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Princess Reema: Investment will take Saudi eSports to next level

  • Given Saudi Arabia’s large youth population, itis believed that pumping more money into this sector could give a boost to both young people and the national economy
  • An eSports federation — known formally as the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports — was launched last year

RIYADH: Greater investment in eSports would boost the Saudi economy and help young gamers better compete in the global — if virtual — arena, one of the Kingdom’s top sporting officials has said. 

Princess Reema bint Bandar, of the General Sport Authority, told the Future Investment Initiative that the Saudi gaming sector is “ripe for investment” — and that extra funds could help take it to the next level.

An eSports federation — known formally as the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports — was launched last year.

Given Saudi Arabia’s large youth population, pumping more money into this sector — by, for instance, opening a gaming college or running gaming tournaments — could give a boost to both young people and the national economy, Princess Reema said.

“We truly believe that this is a sector that we can develop and grow, and is ripe for investment,” she said. 

Princess Reema pointed to South Korea as a country with a healthy eSport industry. 

“In South Korea, the gaming industry is probably around a $4 billion addition to the GDP … imagine if we were able
to do that here in Saudi Arabia?” she said.

“What does that look like? That looks like a gaming college or a university, that looks like gaming-training programs; investments in infrastructure and buildings that allow for these young people to not only participate in the game, but also educate others to be physically active.”

The official acknowledged that some people would need to be convinced that video gaming was actually a sport — adding that she encourages eSports to be recognized by the Olympics. 

But Princess Reema said that another factor was that young people could be encouraged to do more physical activity — because it can help them “up their gaming level” in the virtual field. 

In August, Saudi teenager Mosaad Aldossary picked up a $250,000 prize when he won the global FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final.

More than 20 million gamers vied for a spot in the annual eWorld Cup, with just 32 making it to the finals. Competitors play the FIFA 18 football video game.


Spectacular shows celebrate Saudi National Day in style

Updated 42 min 22 sec ago

Spectacular shows celebrate Saudi National Day in style

  • Public will be treated to festivals, concerts and firework displays

RIYADH: With the celebrations for Saudi Arabia’s National Day is in full swing this weekend, there is no shortage of events taking place across the Kingdom.

Among the most interesting and spectacular are three international shows being staged in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam, including a special performance by the world-famous Cirque du Soleil.

“Tariq Al-Himma” will take the audience on a unique and extraordinary artistic journey through the past, present and future of Saudi Arabia, in a show filled with national pride. You can catch the hour-long performance at the Green Halls in Riyadh from September 21 to 23, starting at 9:30 p.m. each night. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Al-Hamra Corniche in Jeddah is the location for “Star Island” on September 23 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thousands of fireworks will paint the sky with dazzling colors, accompanied by sounds, light effects and laser beams.

The world’s most popular circus show, Cirque du Soleil, presents a specially created hour-long show for Saudi National Day at the Dhahran Expo in Dammam. Featuring 40 artists performing a variety of acrobatic routines, the show begins at 9 p.m. each night until September 23.

The season of events marking the celebration of the Kingdom’s National Day, which falls on September 23, includes more than 40 entertainment, cultural and sporting events and activities across the country. They include festivals, concerts, firework displays, youth forums and public celebrations.