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.


Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

Updated 20 January 2020

Saudi Ministry of Culture launches platform for scholarship applications

  • The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields
  • The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts

RIYADH: The Ministry of Culture has launched a website for applications from students who wish to join the Culture Scholarship Program. From Sunday, applications can be made at https://engage.moc.gov.sa/scholarships on three tracks: Self-financed students, pre-accepted students and the new students. The website features the application forms, benefits and general conditions for each track, as well as a list of relevant educational institutions.
The scholarship program is open to those who wish to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. degree in various cultural and arts fields from the world’s most prominent educational institutions.
The courses provided by the program include music, theater, visual arts (drawing, sculpture, art theory, calligraphy, art history, photography and cinematography) filmmaking, literature and linguistics, archaeology, culinary arts, design, architecture and libraries and museums.
The program offers several advantages for both self-financed students and pre-accepted students. Scholarships cover all tuition fees, financial support, living expenses, health care and return flights to the scholarship’s location for both the student and their companion.
Students in these two tracks are offered guidance and assessment programs to check their academic development during the program, as well as getting support in other aspects needed for their advancement. After their graduation, students in these two tracks can also join training programs abroad for a maximum of two years.
The program offers several advantages to new students who have not yet received acceptance. The program helps them to get the qualifications they need to be accepted by universities by offering assistance in overcoming obstacles such as language proficiency and interpersonal skills.
The program supports the students by organizing training workshops to develop their talents and skills. It introduces them to specialized experts in the field related to their scholarships. The program saves students time and effort and supports them throughout the whole registration process, by helping them write their resumes and complete their portfolios professionally.
The scholarship program is an educational first in Saudi Arabia, and is part of a Ministry of Culture initiative to develop national cadres specialized in cultural and arts fields so as to develop the sector and meet the increasing requirements of the labor market.