RIYADH: More than 20 programs will be on offer at educational platform GameDevZone during Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, with the aim of providing opportunities that will enhance and expand Saudi Arabia’s gaming and esports sector.
The world’s biggest festival of its kind, organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, kicked off on July 6 and will run for eight weeks at Boulevard Riyadh City.
The programs on offer at GameDevZone include Masterclasses, Java Programing with Minecraft, Game Design and Mechanics with Fortnite Creative & Unreal Engine, Metaverse, and Esports World Workshops.
The presenting partner is Nine66, which is building the games ecosystem in Saudi Arabia to support local and international developers. There are also 10 providers offering their expertise at GameDevZone: DigiPen, Unity, Gen.G, Digital Media Academy Silicon Valley, Robothink, MISK, Google, Veryality, and Gosu Academy.
Ahmed Albishri, deputy CEO at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “As the regulating body in charge of nurturing elite gaming athletes and developing Saudi Arabia’s gaming community and industry, our GameDevZone objectives are to increase knowledge, raise awareness, upskill, expose gamers to new resources, generate new ideas, and network.”
“These objectives are vital to progressing the gaming and esports ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, which is absolutely imperative,” he added. “Education helps all of us learn and grow and furthers the development of better, more talented people in every segment of the ecosystem. By doing so, we contribute to fulfilling the overall ambition of making Saudi Arabia a global hub for gaming and esports. Every step along that journey is important and this is why we consider GameDevZone such an integral part of Gamers8: The Land of Heroes.”
The target this summer is to provide more than 3,000 training hours to some 3,500 participants — a substantial rise on the 2,000-plus training hours given to over 1,000 participants last year.
More than 400 games are pinpointed to be developed this year compared to over 200 in 2022, while more than 50,000 visitors are anticipated this year compared to over 30,000 last year. A target to have females make up 30 percent of visitors has been set this summer.
Gamers8: The Land of Heroes has a prize pool of $45 million — triple that of Gamers8 last year. The festival showcases elite gaming titles alongside live concerts by global, regional and local artists, as well as numerous activities and family attractions.
The festival concludes with the Next World Forum, a gaming and esports event at the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh in Kingdom Center on Aug. 30 and 31, that brings together sector leaders and experts from around the world.