Saudi Arabian esports festival Gamers8 returns for 2023

26 January 2023


Image credit: Saudi Esports Federation / Gamers8

Saudi Arabian gaming and esports festival Gamers8 will return in 2023, with the organisers announcing a total prize pool of $30m (~£24.4m).

The festival will take place over eight weeks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and is set to include esports competitions, panel discussions, workshops, concerts and community gaming activations.

This is the second edition of Gamers8, with the first event taking place in 2022. The Gamers8 festival is organised by the Saudi Esports Federation, the nation’s main esports association. This year’s edition — called ‘The Land of Heroes’ — aims to be larger in every way, from the prize pool to the number of games and events taking place in Riyadh.

Although details about the esports segment of the festival were not revealed, last year saw PUBG Mobile, Rainbow Six: Siege, Dota 2, Fortnite and Rocket League tournaments. The organisers noted that the 2023 event will have a similar format. Interestingly, last year’s Riyadh Masters in Dota 2 had the highest-ever prize pool for a tournament that is not The International.

The event is set to start on July 6 and last for eight weeks, but details about the exact timing of esports events, concerts and other activations were not disclosed. The Next World Forum, an esports and gaming conference, will also return this year.

Despite the large prize pool last year saw some esports organisations refuse to take part in the events. Notably, Moist Esports didn’t compete in the Rocket League event due to the country’s stance on the LGBTQ+ community.

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Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “Showcasing the most popular titles on the planet will be amplified further this summer. To be frank, when we mean bigger and better this summer – we truly mean it. We can not wait to reveal what we have in store. “

Gamers8 is seen as one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship esports events, with the country looking to strengthen its standing within the competitive gaming ecosystem. Last year, Saudi Arabian esports and gaming company Savvy Games Group announced a SAR 142bn (~£34.5bn; $37.9bn) investment strategy in order to establish itself as a key player in the esports and gaming world.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.