Saudi gamers seeking global recognition

The Saudi gaming community has expanded in the last couple of years. The community is looking to gain recognition internationally and enrich the field of electronic sports. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 21 November 2019

Saudi gamers seeking global recognition

JEDDAH: The gaming community in the Kingdom is looking to gain recognition internationally and enrich the field of electronic sports (esports), which has only recently emerged in the country since the social and economic changes under the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan. 

“Gaming championships are just as important as any sports championships. Worldwide, it’s called electronic sports. In the Kingdom, they only call it video gaming,” 38-year-old Saudi insurance claims manager and gaming enthusiast Wajdi Kamal told Arab News.

He said Turki Al Sheikh, president of the General Entertainment Authority, recognized the global popularity of esports when he was president of the General Sports Authority. 

“There are Olympic teams in this field and big international championships taking place in this type of sport,” said Kamal.

“So he (Al Sheikh) thought, ‘why not create a team for this?’ Now Saudi Arabia is among the list of best gamers globally within just a few months.”

Kamal said Saudi gamers are reaching out to gaming communities worldwide. “We’ve learned from them, and some of us have surpassed the expectations and experiences of some gaming idols,” he added.

“These Saudi gamers watched them, followed them and learned everything from them, and in some matches they beat them, their teachers.”

The Saudi gaming community has expanded in the last couple of years, said Kamal, adding: “There are talents and skills we never knew existed.”

25-year-old Saudi digital artist Rosanne Basaad, who would like to take up a career in the gaming industry, told Arab News: “Video games have made me widely creative, and since I got into it I started working on concept art, character designs and creating my own adventures and stories. One of my goals is to share such skills and creations to work with the gaming industry.”

Basaad said: “I started playing video games from a young age when my mom introduced me to a game called ‘Crash Bandicoot’.”

She added: “I’ve always been extremely fascinated by how a world can be displayed on such a small device. I’d consider this one of my greatest hobbies, and would like it to grow into something more, and work with such a community.”

25-year-old Saudi computer engineering student Abdul Aziz Wahbi told Arab News: “My older brothers bought a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) when I was 4 years old, and ever since I’ve been interested in gaming as a hobby.”

He said: “I’ve been buying almost every console released by Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. I find gaming to be incredibly competitive and extremely fun, especially if I’m competing against my friends.”

Wahbi has made plans to start a YouTube channel about gaming, combined with his major. “This channel will target the Saudi gaming audience and introduce them to videos about how to make their gaming life easier by making their own accessories. My channel will also be including videos that target comic book fans, movie fans and cosplayers,” he added.


Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2020

Pilgrims to quarantine for 14 days after Hajj

  • COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia continue to fall, officials say

JEDDAH: Pilgrims who took part in this year’s Hajj must continue wearing electronic tags so authorities can track their 14-day quarantine once they return home.

The bracelet is designed to monitor pilgrims’ adherence to quarantine, as well as monitoring and recording their health status through the “Tatamman” app.
Pilgrims were required to quarantine before embarking on the Hajj and wore the bracelets to ensure they were obeying the self-isolation rules as part of strict measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The country continues to experience a decline in COVID-19 cases. Recorded infections remain below the 2,000 mark for the 10th day in a row. The Kingdom reported 1,258 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the number of those infected to 280,093 so far.
There are currently 35,091 active cases and six patients were admitted to critical care units, raising the number to 2,017. There were 32 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,949.
There were 1,972 new recoveries recorded, raising the total number of recoveries to 242,053.
More than 41,361 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests have been conducted in the past 24 hours. The total number of PCR tests conducted to date exceeds 3.47 million.


280,093 COVID-19 cases

242,053 Recoveries

35,091 Active cases

2,949 Total deaths

3.47m PCR tests

The Ministry of Health has been carrying out daily visits to health institutions in order to assess their level of commitment to anti-coronavirus measures, such as ensuring that staff adhere to social distancing, wear masks, and adopt the health practices and crisis management mechanisms recommended by authorities to protect patients and staff.
Teams have been dispatched to supervise the compliance of health facilities’ quarantine centers across Saudi Arabia and stepped up their visits to government and private hospitals to ensure their compliance with health protocols, sample transfers and staff testing as well as ensuring that all routine surgeries are stopped.
More than 5,000 violations have been recorded and violators were referred to committees. More than 150 facilities were temporarily shut down by the ministry until the proper protocols were implemented and the violations were fixed. A number of institutions were able to resume operations after settling fines.