Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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RIYADH: The realm of electronic sports, or esports, is swiftly shifting from a casual pastime to a professional industry in Saudi Arabia, with the country’s top esports authority foreseeing an immense growth in career opportunities for its population.

Speaking at a panel discussion during the Next World Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Esports Federation Chairman Prince Faisal bin Bandar said the Kingdom’s population is quite passionate about gaming, and if utilized wisely, they can transform their passion into a prolific career path.

“68 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia believe they are gamers. They are gamers in their core. And that is the population we are working with. They have that passion,” said Prince Faisal. He added: “When we talk about diversification of the economy, there are so many career paths within gaming; it is unbelievable. But people do not realize that.”

According to the SEF chief, the gaming industry in the Kingdom is booming, and the government is making all necessary efforts to nurture talent in this growing sector.

“Are you a lawyer? Are you a financier? Are you good at talking? Whatever you do, there is a career path in gaming. You do not have to exclude both of your passions. We will give you the tools, and we want you to take that and grow,” added Prince Faisal.

The chairman further noted that Saudi Arabia is trying to create a unique and holistic game hub within the Kingdom, which will attract esports lovers from the East and the West. “We want to create a global hub of gaming and esports — a central point between the East and the West, a point where people want to come. And the question is no longer why, but why not,” added Prince Faisal.

According to the SEF chairman, Saudi Arabia wants to create esports tournaments where people will spend six to eight hours with their families physically, not just watching the stream online.  “It is not about come, play and go home… But creating an experience that people want to be a part of an occasion, where being at the location is better than watching it on a stream,” added Faisal.

According to him, the esports tournament venues in Saudi Arabia will be equipped so that people can come and spend their whole day with excitement. “There is food and beverages, there is education. It is a place where my son can come and spend the whole day, and I can go and watch the esports. It becomes an experience and not just a tournament,” he added.

Prince Faisal elaborated on how Saudi Arabia’s holistic approach to gaming will change how other nations and entities view the players.  “So many esports tournaments look at esports players as their products. And that is how they treat them. We are trying to innovate here and saying you are our player, not a product. You are our key stakeholder,” he concluded.

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