Saudi megaproject Qiddiya announced as partner for Gamers8

Gamers8 Qiddiya partnership
Image credit: Gamers8 / Qiddiya

Qiddiya, a real estate megaproject in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been announced as a partner for esports and gaming festival Gamers8.

Gamers8 organiser Saudi Esports Federation said Qiddiya would provide “immersive and interactive experiences” during the Gamers8 festival, which is set to take place from July to August 2023.

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Qiddiya is a real estate, tourism and entertainment project created by the Saudi Public Investment Fund as a part of the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan.

Located around 40km from Riyadh’s center, Qiddiya will include entertainment offerings such as theme parks, water parks, sporting events, motorsport and host sporting events, among other things. The first phase of development is expected to be finished in 2023.

Few details around the partnership were shared, though the CEO of the Saudi Esports Federation Turki Al-Fawzan hinted in an interview with Makkah Newspaper that the deal also includes the Gamers8 Next World Forum, a business conference taking place after Gamers8. Al-Fawzan also told the paper that further details would be released in due course, “including those surrounding the entertainment and immersive experience plans.”

Qiddiya is the latest in a line of partners for this year’s Gamers8, a gaming and esports festival set to be the largest event in the industry in 2023. Pepsi, Razer, LG UltraGear, Aramco, HONOR and others have been unveiled as sponsors of the event.

Saudi megacity sponsorships have attracted criticism in the past. In 2020, BLAST and the LCS were forced to cancel partnerships with NEOM, another Saudi Arabian government-funded megacity project, after major fan backlash over the controversial construction project.

Gamers8’s total prize pool will amount to $45m (£~38m), with major tournaments in Fortnite, Dota 2, fighting and racing simulation games, Rocket League, FIFA and more. A further $5m (~£4m) will be distributed through a reward scheme to well-performing esports organisations.

Managing Director and Board Member for Qiddiya Abdullah AlDawood was quoted by Makkah Newspaper as saying: “Our partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation shows our commitment to Gamers: The Land of Heroes, the Next World Forum and to gaming fans and entertainment enthusiasts around the world.

“Through such partnerships, Qiddiya aims to become the leading entertainment, sports and cultural destination globally, while also fulfilling the Kingfom’s Vision 2030 that seeks to build an ambitious nation with a vibrant society and a thriving economy.”

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.