Gamers from around the world are descending on Saudi Arabia's capital for the world's largest esports event.
Gamers8, hosted by the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) at a venue in the entertainment district Boulevard of Riyadh, will feature a range of events and concerts every weekend for 60 days, with a prize fund of up to $15 million.
"Gamers8 is the best way to bring gamers together and shows how massive and strong the gaming community is in Saudi Arabia," Saad Hakim, a visitor to the event, told The National. "This is a chance for the world to see that."
There are almost 23.5 million gamers across the country, "almost every home in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has someone with a deep passion for gaming”, said Prince Faisal bin Bandar, SEF president.
Some of the biggest games will feature in tournaments being held throughout the festival, including Fortnite, Dota 2, Rocket League, PUBG, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, among others.
Saudi Arabia is a natural choice for an event of this magnitude, organisers say, as the kingdom is in the top five for numbers of consumers around the world for e-sports and games.
What to expect at Gamers8
It isn't only tournaments. The event space will also host about 1,000 different gamer-themed activities and attractions at Boulevard Riyadh City in an effort to attract more fans to the sports.
Concerts will also be held, featuring some of the biggest international and regional artists including Lil Pump, Balquees, Russ, DJ Snake, Nancy Ajram, Hamaki, Disco Misr, Alan Walker and DJ Axwell.
“The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh while merging a plethora of entertainment such as music, festivals, shows, and the latest experiences for children," said SEF chief Ahmed Al Bishri.
"We are delighted to be bringing some of the biggest names in music to Riyadh this summer and know they will significantly contribute to a season of incredible moments and memories.
“This summer’s showpiece is going to be a special occasion and we are delighted to welcome the elite to Gamers8," said Prince Faisal. "The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports and gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh. With that in mind, the capital city of our country renowned for its enthusiasm and huge fervour for gaming is the ideal setting for Gamers8."