Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh

Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Supplied)
Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Abdulrahman bin Shalhoub/AN)
Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Abdulrahman bin Shalhoub/AN)
Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Abdulrahman bin Shalhoub/AN)
Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Abdulrahman bin Shalhoub/AN)
Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
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The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats. (Abdulrahman bin Shalhoub/AN)
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Updated 09 July 2023
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Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh

Gamers8 esports festival sells out for first days of its second event in Riyadh
  • Coming eight weeks will see 15 tournaments from a list of top-12 video games at purpose-built venue, in addition to global concert lineups
  • Event is vital part of Saudi Esports Federation and Saudi Arabia’s vision to become a global hub for gaming and esports investment

RIYADH: Dazzling fireworks cascaded on Boulevard Riyadh City on Friday, signifying the official kickoff of Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the second outing of the world’s largest esports and gaming festival.

Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, or SEF, the coming eight weeks will see 15 tournaments from a list of top-12 video games at its purpose-built venue, in addition to global concert lineups every Friday and various entertainment zones and activations.

Omar Batterjee, director of corporate communications and public relations at SEF, told Arab News: “We keep saying we’re going to make this year’s event three times bigger and we mean it in every way. Looking back at how last year catapulted us to getting here, I think Saudi Arabia as a whole had a community of over 21 million gamers. However, I think the industry, the investors, did not realize the magnitude, did not realize how much buying power there is or the market appetite.”

The season has already sold out tickets for the first couple of days, including its education program seats, and expects to welcome upwards of 2.5 million visitors for more than 1,000 events and activations throughout the festival.

With a $45 million total prize pool, tripled from their inaugural event, the festival will host tournaments for Fortnite, Tekken 7 Nations Cup, PUBG Mobile World Invitational, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Dota 2, StarCraft II, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Rocket League, PUBG Global Series 2, three FIFAe tournaments, and Street Fighter 6.

The theme, Land of Heroes, highlights its representation of Saudi Arabia as the ultimate destination for gamers across the globe, and also celebrates the event’s inclusivity.

The big date outlines the summer in Riyadh, allowing the venue to become a place of community engagement and immersion into the gaming industry, aligned with its six main pillars: compete, amuse, rhythm, challenge, meet, and learn.

Including access to elite competitions, Gamers8 offers a range of live concerts from star local, regional and international names, and community gaming opportunities, education platforms and programs, and family activities.

Last year’s Gamers8 saw 1.4 million visitors, 132 million people watching the elite competitions, 392 professional players representing 61 nationalities, 113 international professional teams, and eight nights of music throughout the summer that brought in a total of 74,670 ticket-holders attending performances from 19 global artists, 10 Arab artists, and 17 local Saudi artists.

Batterjee said: “What we hope to do is take this passion that a lot of people have and create career opportunities… The Saudi Sports Federation can’t do everything and the National Gaming and Esports strategy is where this all ties in. There are over 20 government entities, over 80 initiatives, 86 to be exact, all working together on different elements.

“We’re all going together to take this sector and hopefully reach a contribution to GDP of 50 billion riyals by 2030,” he said.

The event is a vital step to SEF and Saudi Arabia’s grand vision to become a global hub for gaming and esports investment. It also aligns with the National Gaming and Esports Strategy that boasts six main pillars: esports, gaming consumption, game development, education and talent attraction, funds and infrastructure, as well as technical and physical infrastructure.

Turki Alfawzan, CEO of SEF, told Arab News: “We’re very proud that we have a national strategy on a sector level to push the gaming sector to become one of the main (ones) within Saudi.

“Looking at the demographics of Saudi, with the youth of 70 percent, this is a reflection of the gaming industry. We have more than 20 million gamers in Saudi, so that’s why it’s really important for us to make and to create an opportunity for all these youth with a very exciting sector.”

Gamers8: The Land of Heroes will conclude alongside the Next World Forum, an esports and gaming worldwide forum, from Aug. 30-31.


Esports World Cup adds ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ competitions

Esports World Cup adds ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ competitions
Updated 14 June 2024
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Esports World Cup adds ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ competitions

Esports World Cup adds ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III’ and ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ competitions
  • EWC schedule consists of 22 competitions across 21 games, making it the largest multi-game e-sports tournament of all time
  • Federation CEO says World Cup ‘cemented our promise to deliver the world’s best games’

RIYADH: The Esports World Cup Foundation said on Friday that “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” and “Call of Duty: Warzone” had been added to the games that will be part of the inaugural Esports World Cup this summer in Riyadh.
The EWC schedule consists of 22 competitions across 21 games, making it the largest multi-game e-sports tournament of all time.
EWCF’s CEO Ralf Reichert said: “By adding two amazing ‘Call of Duty’ games to EWC, we have cemented our promise to deliver the world’s best games to e-sports fans everywhere.
“‘Call of Duty’ is the final piece of our historic EWC 2024 schedule, and we are excited to welcome its athletes and global fanbase to Riyadh this summer.”
Since its original launch in 2003, the “Call of Duty” franchise has remained one of the world’s most popular video games. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” is one of the best-selling video games of 2023 in the US.
Published in March 2020, “Call of Duty: Warzone” found instant success as the franchise’s first entry into the battle royale genre. Both games feature robust e-sports ecosystems that engage fans in a variety of formats ranging from league-based play to open circuit competitions.
EWC will also host competitions in “Apex Legends,” “Counter-Strike 2,” “Dota 2,” “EA Sports FC 24,” “Fortnite,” “Free Fire,” “Honor of Kings,” “League of Legends,” “Mobile Legends: Bang Bang,” “Overwatch 2,” “PUBG Battlegrounds,” “PUBG Mobile,” “ESL R1,” “Rocket League,” “StarCraft II,” “Street Fighter 6,” “Teamfight Tactics,” “TEKKEN 8” and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Siege.”
Each of the championships at EWC will have its own prize pool with a combined total exceeding $33 million. By adding these two games, the EWCF has created additional opportunities for additional athletes to participate at the event and earn a piece of life-changing winnings.
During the tournament, the “Call of Duty: Warzone” competition, running Jul. 3-6, will feature 21 teams battling for a share of a $1 million prize pool, and the “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” competition, Aug. 15-18, will have 16 teams vying for a $1.8 million prize pool.
Results in both competitions contribute points to the overall Club Championship rankings, an innovative cross-game competitive format unique to the EWC.
Winners of at least one EWC game competition become eligible for the Club Championship’s top prize of $7 million (out of a $20 million pool to the top 16 clubs) and the prestigious title of Esports World Cup Club champion.


Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership

Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership
Updated 12 June 2024
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Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership

Esports World Cup and the Esports Awards announce three-year partnership
  • Awards ceremony in Riyadh will be one of the most prestigious nights in the world esports calendar

RIYADH: The Esports World Cup Foundation and the Esports Awards have announced a three-year partnership that brings the world’s most prestigious esports awards ceremony and platform to the Esports World Cup, the world’s largest gaming festival, scheduled to take place this summer in Riyadh.

The 2024 Esports Awards will be held on Aug. 24 in Riyadh with a gala to honor the best in esports from every corner of the globe, celebrating clubs, athletes, content creators, games and more. The partnership ensures that the Esports Awards will be a platform for experiences such as the lifetime achievement mixer, red carpet event, esports village and the awards ceremony itself. Fans can vote for awards finalists when they are revealed on June 27.

Since its inception in 2015, the Esports Awards has earned a reputation for recognizing excellence in esports globally and supporting initiatives to grow the industry. Over the past decade, it has evolved from a London dinner event into the premier global awarding body and de-facto platform for esports recognition.

The global red carpet event has been held in London, Dallas and Las Vegas and now comes to Saudi Arabia for the first time.

Last year’s star-studded ceremony attracted more than 22 million viewers and some of the biggest brands, athletes and publishers took home 30 awards in categories for entertainment, industry, creative, pro, on-air talent, and collegiate. The event secured a Guinness World Record for largest digital video game display when WWE superstars and gaming legends alike played Pac-Man on a screen with an area of 100,000 square feet.

“Partnering with the Esports World Cup enables us to offer an even more exceptional experience to our nominees, guests and viewers," said Michael Ashford, CEO, Esports Awards. “The Esports Awards have always been dedicated to celebrating incredible achievements in esports, so we naturally saw the opportunity to join forces with EWC in Riyadh as an excellent fit.

“The Middle East is home to one of the fastest growing and most passionate esports communities in the world and I’m delighted to be bringing the awards to the region for the first time. I cannot wait for this year’s ceremony, which I expect will be the most impressive and memorable one yet.”

Ralf Reichert, CEO of Esports World Cup Foundation, said: “Hosting the Esports Awards in Riyadh enriches the Esports World Cup, bringing the entire world together to commemorate esports excellence.

“Here, we can support the Esports Awards as a valuable bridge between Eastern and Western audiences. The Esports Awards is a fantastic gala that celebrates stakeholders from across the global esports ecosystem, recognizing not only competitive greatness but also greatness in production, broadcasting, leadership, creative design and more. I’m excited to attend the Esports Awards this year in Riyadh and honor the best in esports.”

The Esports World Cup starts on July 3 in Riyadh and will turn the city into the epicenter of esports fandom and gaming culture for eight weeks.

Fans can watch the action at Boulevard City across 20 game championships for a share of more than $60 million in prize money — the largest prize pool in esports history. The Esports World Cup will also feature festival activities that include numerous gaming activities, community tournaments, pop culture celebrations, international experiences and more.


Esports enthusiasts set for GCC League 2024 finals in Riyadh

Esports enthusiasts set for GCC League 2024 finals in Riyadh
Updated 11 June 2024
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Esports enthusiasts set for GCC League 2024 finals in Riyadh

Esports enthusiasts set for GCC League 2024 finals in Riyadh
  • ‘The enthusiasm, passion, and love for esports in all GCC nations are well-known around the globe,’ says SEF’s Chairman Prince Faisal bin Bandar
  • Contestants to battle it out for regional supremacy, share of $150,000 prize pool across Rocket League and TEKKEN 8

RIYADH: Esports enthusiasts are gearing up for a sensational spectacle with the inaugural GCC League 2024 finals in Riyadh on June 27-28, when contenders go head-to-head across the Rocket League and TEKKEN 8 competitions.
Presented by the Saudi Esports Federation, the GCC League is the newest Middle Eastern esports tournament that brings together six countries and some of the region’s greatest athletes and clubs for a series of showdowns.
SEF’s Chairman Prince Faisal bin Bandar said on Tuesday: “We cannot wait for the GCC League 2024 finale, and we share the excitement of esports fans throughout the region and beyond, ahead of what promises to be another world-class event in Riyadh.”
The first-ever edition began last month as 12 teams from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE faced off in an online Rocket League tournament, the vehicular soccer game and one of the world’s most popular titles.
Following 10 days of non-stop group stage action from May 12-21, the stage is set for exhilarating back-to-back encounters later this month.
Live from Riyadh, the remaining contestants will battle it out for regional supremacy and their share of a $150,000 prize pool across Rocket League and another world-renowned title, TEKKEN 8.
Prince Faisal said: “The enthusiasm, passion, and love for esports in all GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations are well-known around the globe — and this is one of many factors behind what makes the GCC League particularly exciting and intriguing. This upcoming event is simply unmissable for all with a vested interest in our industry.”
Among the challengers are Xenon Esports of Kuwait and the Oman National Team B. They advanced to the finals as winners of Groups A and B respectively in the tournament’s first online stage last month.
Also in the running for glory are Group A qualifiers, the Bahrain National Team, and Group B qualifiers Unity Esports (Kuwait) and KHK Esports (Bahrain).
Prince Faisal added: “Welcoming the region’s biggest and best talent for a brand-new competition is the latest illustration of our enduring commitment to provide new opportunities for regional talent to shine.”
Alongside the greatest athletes and clubs from across the region, local esports fans are sure to provide Team Falcons and Twisted Minds with incredible home support as these clubs are representing the host nation.


EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament held in Riyadh for MENA gamers

EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament held in Riyadh for MENA gamers
Updated 01 April 2024
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EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament held in Riyadh for MENA gamers

EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament held in Riyadh for MENA gamers
  • Gaming show featured two tournaments — one for EA Sports FC 24 on PlayStation 5, the other for EA Sports FC Mobile.

RIYADH: The live finals of the EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament, which began on March 18, took place this Friday at the SEF Arena in Riyadh.

Organized by Zawaya Gaming and powered by Pepsi with support from the Saudi Esports Federation, the gaming show featured two tournaments — one for EA Sports FC 24 on PlayStation 5, the other for EA Sports FC Mobile.

A group of 16 players from across the Middle East and North Africa region and Indonesia qualified to compete during the live show along with other eight players who were paired with athletes and content creators, including Egyptian YouTuber Amr Nassouhy and Saudi YouTuber BanderitaX, for a two-versus-two tournament in both of the competitions.

“It is a huge event,” Nassouhy said. The Youtuber, whose content focuses on sports, including football, boasts 1.4 million followers on Instagram and almost 3 million followers on his “Saba7o Korah” YouTube channel, which he started back in 2012.

“EA has been doing these kinds of events for years. I have been on board with them for eight years maybe, and it is really important for the entire community,” he said.

“Everybody can play online or with friends, but having competitions and having content creators attending these competitions sheds light on these players and the EA FC 2024 and esports in general.

“I am a huge football fan, so EA sports has always been a favorite of mine since childhood.”

Amr Basher, another Egyptian content creator, was also among the guests in the Saudi capital on Friday. He posts content about FC and FC Mobile across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube to millions of followers.

“Last year, I attended the (Esports) World Cup that was hosted in Riyadh. It was similar to this, well-organized. I enjoyed it very much,” Basher said.


EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers

EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers
Updated 29 February 2024
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EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers

EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers
  • Participants will take part in 2 competitions, EA Sports FC 24, EA Sports FC Mobile

RIYADH: EA Sports has announced the launch of the first-ever Ramadan tournament, set to take place during the holy month from March 18 to 29.

The EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament will be organized by Zawaya Gaming and powered by Pepsi with support from the Saudi eSports Federation.

The event will feature two parallel knockout tournaments: one for EA Sports FC 24 on PlayStation 5, and the other for EA Sports FC Mobile.

A total of 16 players will qualify to compete in the finals, with eight players being paired with athletes and creators for a two-versus-two tournament in the two competitions.

The console tournament will be open to participants from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, while mobile participants will include competitors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Indonesia.

The live finals will take place at the SEF Arena in Riyadh.