Gamers on the march as global giant makes Saudi debut

The expo in Riyadh features a variety of activities that appeal to gamers of all ages. (AN Photo by Hala Tashkandi)
Updated 29 November 2019

Gamers on the march as global giant makes Saudi debut

  • FOur-day gaming expo will run until Nov. 30 at the Riyadh Expo Center in the city’s Front

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s growing army of video game players has received a further boost with world-leading games festival Insomnia making its Saudi debut as part of Riyadh Season.

The four-day gaming expo will run until Nov. 30 at the Riyadh Expo Center in the city’s Front.

Insomnia Gaming, the UK’s biggest video games festival, said that the electronic sports (e-sports) market in the Middle East and North Africa region is growing by about 25 percent every year, the fastest rate in the world.

In 2018, Insomnia signed a multi-year agreement to bring the festival to the region, starting with Cairo, then Dubai and now Riyadh.

Azzam Al-Omran, Riyadh’s Front Zone manager, said that Saudi Arabia “is a great location for Insomnia to break ground.”

BACKGROUND

In 2018, Insomnia signed a multi-year agreement to bring the festival to the region, starting with Cairo, then Dubai and now Riyadh.

“The gaming industry in Saudi Arabia keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he told Arab News. 

“There is a local precedent for gaming events in the country, with past events such as Gamers’ Day and Gamers’ Con. So it was easy for us to localize the event, bringing some of the best players in the world.”

Casual and professional gamers can enjoy a variety of activities that appeal to gamers of all ages.

Major e-sports companies have set up booths where players can test out the latest tech and see the latest developments in the sport.

Some of the year’s most popular tournament games, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Overwatch, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are also available.

Younger audiences can sample the latest additions to the Pokemon franchise, Pokemon Let’s Go! and Pokemon Sword and Shield, seated comfortably under a giant inflatable Pikachu as they enjoy the game on Nintendo’s latest console offering, the Nintendo Switch.

The event features a series of competitions, with all of the available player-versus-player games getting their own tournaments.

Prizes range from SR9,374 ($2,500) to SR33,750, and registration is open to anyone with a ticket.

The expo’s featured guests include members of the FaZe Clan, one of the world’s biggest names in e-sports. 

The team will be available for meet-and-greets, and will give out tournament prizes.

Insomnia also offers other types of entertainment, and is sponsoring two cosplay contests — one for professionals aged 16 and above, and the other for amateurs aged 12 and above.

The gaming festival also features a stage with shows, dance performances, skits and tributes to famous video games, BMX bike and skateboard performances and a lip sync battle.

Tickets to Insomnia are available on the official festival website. 

The expo is open daily from 4 p.m. to midnight.


Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

Updated 11 December 2019

Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

  • Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU
  • Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi has been the president of Tabuk University since October 2017.

Prior to that, he was the deputy head of educational affairs at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, where he served in the position for one year. 

He has also been the chairman of the promotion and job competition committee, as well as the safety committee, at Tabuk University since November 2012. 

Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Science. 

He later traveled abroad to pursue his higher education, earning his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri, US. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK.

After that, he returned to the Kingdom and joined KAU as an assistant professor. He remained in that position from 2005 to 2010, then served as an associate professor between 2010 and 2014.

Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom and the community colleges higher committee at the Ministry of Higher Education.

He congratulated King Salman on the release of the government’s annual budget for 2020.

“Approximately one-fifth of the budget is allocated to education, which reflects the leadership’s keenness to invest in the human element through education and training ... to open new horizons and job opportunities for Saudi youth and encourage them to invest in the diverse resources in the Kingdom,” Al-Dhayabi said.