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.
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.