Saudi Esports Federation (SEF)-run esports festival Gamers8 has welcomed hardware manufacturer and lifestyle brand Razer as the official gaming gear partner for its upcoming tournament, which begins on July 14th in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh.
Razer will showcase its products and sell limited edition merch, receive branding exposure on broadcast and organise raffles for attendees.
It comes as the $15m (~£12m) Gamers8 festival was hit with yet more controversy this week, as RLCS Spring Major champions Moist Esports announced it would be boycotting the Rocket League event over the Saudi Arabian government’s anti-LGBTQ+ stance.
Gamers8 and Razer have not publicly commented on the Moist Esports announcement.
For its part, Razer will be selling an exclusive Gamers8 x Razer collection on-site during the eight-week summer event, which will feature several high-profile esports tournaments.
Several Razer products will be showcased throughout the competition, including its signature collection. The Saudi Esports Federation and Razer will additionally organise raffles for Gamers8 attendees and fans on social media to win ‘exclusive gaming gear’, the two parties announced.
Omar Batterjee, Head of Communications, Marketing and Partnerships at the Saudi Esports Federation said he was “delighted” to welcome Razer as a partner.
“Gamers8 has a mission to blur the lines between what’s physical and what’s virtual, and the triple-headed snake trademark of Razer, one of the most recognized logos in the gaming world, is a great addition to the event. We know fans will be as excited as we are with this partnership.”
Moderators of the dedicated Rocket League Esports subreddit begged to differ. On Sunday, the subreddit moderators released a statement expressing support for Moist Esports and announced that they would not be covering the Gamers8 Rocket League event in solidarity.
This is not the first Saudi-backed esports initiative that has attracted community controversy. Tournament organiser BLAST and League of Legends competition LEC were both forced to withdraw from deals with the Kingdom’s controvrsial city development NEOM after fan backlash.
Saudi Arabia has been dramatically increasing its presence in the esports and gaming industries this year, most notably through the government-backed Savvy Gaming Group’s purchase of ESL Gaming and FACEIT for a combined $1.5bn (~£1.1bn).