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.


Riyadh Biban forum to attract new entrepreneurs

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 37 sec ago

Riyadh Biban forum to attract new entrepreneurs

  • The event takes place on Jan. 29 at the Riyadh Front Expo with Deputy Gov. Prince Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz in attendance

RIYADH: Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar will launch the Biban forum for entrepreneurs, innovators, startups and investors next week, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Biban aims to encourage new enterprises and entrepreneurs to launch projects and establish themselves in the market by examining the tools and project ideas needed to find and attract investors.
The event takes place on Jan. 29 at the Riyadh Front Expo with Deputy Gov. Prince Mohammad bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz in attendance.
It is organized in collaboration with Monshaat, the Kingdom’s Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, which aims to support and develop the sector.
The forum also seeks to create the appropriate environment for existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to ensure their contribution and growth, stimulate new enterprises into the market by encouraging entrepreneurs and those who are interested in business, introduce new projects and help them overcome difficulties, attract investors and familiarize them with the necessary requirements and procedures.
The forum will introduce two new areas for attention. One centers on innovation to enable SMEs to adopt solutions and introduce their projects. The second focuses on real estate and construction to provide investment opportunities to SMEs in the fields of property management, real estate marketing, contracting and construction work.