Saudi Esports Federation, the festival’s organizer, has announced that Qiddiya will offer “immersive and interactive experiences” during the event in July and August of 2023.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund developed Qiddiya, a real estate, tourism, and entertainment hub, as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative.
Qiddiya, located about 40 kilometers from the heart of Riyadh, will have a wide variety of leisure options, such as theme parks, water parks, sporting events, motorsport, and the hosting of sporting events. In 2023, we hope to have completed the first stage of construction.
Very little information has been made public about the relationship, but in an interview with Makkah Newspaper, CEO of the Saudi Esports Federation Turki Al-Fawzan suggested that the deal also covers the business conference that follows Gamers8. Al-Fawzan informed the media that more information, “including those surrounding the entertainment and immersive experience plans,” would be made public at a later date.
Gamers8 is a gaming and esports festival that aims to be the largest event of its kind by 2023, and Qiddiya is the latest in a long line of partners for this year’s event. Sponsors for the event include Pepsi, Razer, LG UltraGear, Aramco, HONOR, and others.
The Saudi government’s financing of megacities has come under fire in the past. As a result of massive fan anger over the contentious development project, BLAST and the LCS were compelled to end their affiliations with NEOM, another Saudi Arabian government-funded megacity project, in 2020.
A total of $45m (£38m) will be up for grabs in Gamers8’s many events, including those for Fortnite, Dota 2, fighting and racing simulation games, Rocket League, FIFA, and more. An additional $5m (£4m) will be doled out via a rewards program to top-performing esports organizations.
From Makkah Newspaper: “Our partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation shows our commitment to Gamers: The Land of Heroes, the Next World Forum, and gaming fans and entertainment enthusiasts around the world.” — Abdullah AlDawood, Managing Director and Board Member for Qiddiya.
“Through such collaborations, Qiddiya seeks to become the world’s preeminent entertainment, sports, and cultural destination, realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to create an aspirational nation with a thriving society and economy.”