eSports has been a part of the gaming landscape since the 1990s, but it was not until the late 2000s that it became a real force to be reckoned with, thanks to the introduction of large prize pools. These generous payouts gave eSports the recognition it deserved, and finally convinced those who had been dismissive of it to take it seriously. Now, the industry is firmly entrenched in the gaming world, with prize pools reaching up to $40 million. Moreover, the Saudi Arabia-backed Gamers8 tournament and expo recently announced the largest eSports prize pool ever.
About Gamers8 Tournament And Expo
The tournament will be featuring $45 million for its 2023 event which has been called “The Land of Heroes” and is part of Saudi Arabia’s broader ambitions to be seen as a hub for esports and video gaming over the next year. The money that has been allocated for The Land of Heroes is in fact greater than the $40 million that was raised for The International 2021, Dota 2’s crowning event, and one of the most important competitive pow-wows in video gaming.
Gamers8 is now looking to introduce an event that is bigger in every way than the 2022 edition. The date is set for July 6, 2023, and there will be many games to watch live on-site. While the official titles have not been yet revealed, there is some speculation as to what titles may actually make it in this year’s edition of the event. Those include Rocket League, PUG Mobile, Rainbow Six Siege, and Fortnite, among others. Players are flocking for a chance to participate in some of the most rewarding events, and Saudi Arabia is also happy with this arrangement,
Saudi Arabia Becoming Video Gaming And eSports Hub
The Kingdom is actively looking to expand its clout in video gaming. In fact, the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, is very passionate about eSports. He has decided to turn his passion into an economic boom for his kingdom and has outlined major plans to transform the kingdom’s reputation into a place where video gaming (the industry itself) and professional video gaming (eSports) thrive.
The prince wants to see more investment and talent flock to Saudi Arabia as a result. He has already succeeded in attracting significant interest from local audiences who are becoming passionate gamers. The country already plays host to many ventures, including one of the best eSports betting sites in Saudi Arabia. Players are taking eSports more seriously, and they are having a blast with it, by both participating in it, or simply betting on their favorite players and teams. But with all of this in mind, is money all that eSports needs to succeed?
The industry is already slowing down a bit in some of its more traditional bastions, such as Europe and North America, but it is gathering considerable steam elsewhere, including in South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Saudi Arabia is looking to leverage its strong ambition in eSports well and serve as a bridge between the two hemispheres when it comes to eSports.
There is still a lot of work to be done – of course. Saudi Arabia’s generous investment in the prize pool is a good way to attract attention and raise awareness for Gamers8 and Saudi Arabia’s role in the eSports ecosystem. Yet, it cannot be the only thing that comes into play. As some critics point out, this will mostly attract teams and players from mature markets such as North America and the United States who are exceptionally good.
However, the Saudis know what they are doing. That is why many of the games featured in the Gamers8 festival are most likely going to be once again geared toward both Western and Eastern players. After all, Eastern players tend to excel at mobile gaming, and this is what Gamers8 wants to focus on as well. Players will have a chance to compete not just in Dota but also in PUBG, which is dominated by Southeast Asian players.
All in all, Gamers8 is a great initiative. It’s the first true major effort for the Middle East to transform itself in a way that becomes more welcoming to eSports players from all over the world. Saudi Arabia and the region have a lot to offer when it comes to eSports and there seems to be a growing demand for that.