E-sports legends target Riyadh for game-changing festival

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Onur Tamer, METAI general manager at Riot Games. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 December 2019

E-sports legends target Riyadh for game-changing festival

  • The first official League of Legends tournament in the region begins today

RIYADH: The Saudi capital is preparing to welcome leading gamers from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on the eve of the Nexus Festival — the first official League of Legends tournament in the region.

US video game developer Riot Games is aiming to shape the gaming landscape in the MENA region through the festival.

The three-day festival from Dec. 5-7 is an initiative by the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) that will offer gamers and non-gamers 23 different activities and mini-games as well as a theme park.

Players will battle for glory across six competitions for a slice of the $2 million prize money in front of more than 30,000 people.

Eight teams have booked their place in the showpiece event after competing against more than 750 teams in qualifying rounds held in 13 countries across the region.

FASTFACTS

  • The three-day festival is an initiative by the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.
  • Players will battle for glory across six competitions for a slice of the $2 million prize money in front of more than 30,000 people.
  • Eight teams have booked their place in the showpiece event after competing against more than 750 teams in qualifying rounds held in 13 countries across the region.

Each region saw their top two teams qualify, including heavyweights such as Saudi’s EGZ and Oshtek Warriors, Levant’s Nasr eSports and Qlash, North Africa’s Devine Vendetta and Eagle Esports Tunisia, and the GCC’s Hex and Shot 2 Kill.

The final playoffs promise a showdown between some of the best players of the region, such as Korean Kid, Cipher, Gaaloul, Azra and internationally renowned coaches such as Yamato Cannon and Kanini.

The event’s flagship competitions include the “five versus five” summoners rift, while a special “influencer tournament” will see the region’s top eight influencers team up with micro-influencers. The schedule also includes the “one versus one” battle, Team Fight Tactics, auto battler within the League of Legends universe and the cosplay competition.

US singer Jason Derulo will take to the stage for a special concert as part of the festival, while a series of activities and entertainment has been lined up for people of all ages.

Onur Tamer, METAI general manager at Riot Games, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people for the first Riot Games tournament in the region. The gaming industry has rapidly increased in the MENA, especially in Saudi Arabia, and we are delighted to be hosting the first Nexus festival here in Riyadh.

“We have been thoroughly impressed with what we have seen during the qualifying stages and this will provide a series of enthralling contests at the festival. With the best gamers testing themselves to be crowned champion in six competitions, it promises to be a thrilling three days of action.”

Tickets are available for the festival, which includes a variety of gaming experiences, music and attractions.


Saudi transport forum puts global spotlight on Kingdom’s booming rail sector

Updated 17 min 37 sec ago

Saudi transport forum puts global spotlight on Kingdom’s booming rail sector

  • The Railway Forum sought to enhance strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors

RIYADH: An international conference highlighting the development and growth of the Saudi railway sector on Tuesday opened in Riyadh.

The two-day Railway Forum, organized by the Saudi Railway Co. (SAR) under the patronage of King Salman, is being held at the capital’s Ritz-Carlton hotel with the title, “Joining Tracks for a Closer Future.”

The gathering aims to create an international platform in the Middle East for the active exchange of knowledge and expertise between local and international rail industry experts and stakeholders while promoting the growth potential of the sector in the Kingdom and regionally.

Speaking at the forum’s opening session, Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the global railway industry was witnessing strong growth with increased investment.

He pointed out that an aggressive rate of industrialization was expected to develop the international market even further while the need for fast, reliable, risk-limited and affordable means of transportation was becoming a necessity.

The sector was working to keep pace with population growth and increased world demand for transportation in general and railways in particular, which were faster, cheaper and safer, the minister added.

Al-Jasser told delegates that the Kingdom was undergoing bold developments in all sectors to realize the Saudi Vision 2030, and the railways, in which Saudi Arabia was investing heavily, were expected to play a key role in turning the country into a global logistics hub.

The Railway Forum sought to enhance strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors, he added.

Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of the SAR, said he hoped the event would generate new ideas to help further boost the Saudi railway sector.

He pointed out that SAR now had huge fleets connecting various cities and more than 47 million tons of minerals had been transported to date, taking around 4 million truckloads off the roads.

Inaugurated by King Salman in September 2018, the Kingdom’s Haramain high-speed railway was one of the most modern and fastest means of transport in the Middle East, added Al-Malik.

It was the first electric train of its kind in the region covering more than 450 km and connecting five stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City, and Madinah.

All the stations included facilities such as lounges for business-class travelers, a center for public transport, helicopter landing sites, parking lots, civil defense stations, mosques and commercial spaces to meet passenger requirements.

The forum will be divided into sessions discussing the global vision toward 2030, urban rail, logistic railway benefits, safety and security, and future rail.

It will also offer a unique and active stage for industry stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise, discover new trends and find potential investment opportunities.